In order to get a grasp on this primetime matchup, we’ve enlisted the help of those who know these teams the best. Expert NFL bloggers Kevin Grauel of San Diego blog Bolts From the Blue and Jeff Hughes of Chicago blog Da Bears Blog strap on the pads and debate which team will not only win, but cover the spread Monday night.
WHY THE BEARS WILL COVER
Jeff Hughes is a writer for Da Bears Blog. You can follow them on Twitter @dabearsblog.
Jeremy Langford debuts
Nobody around the Chicago Bears is quite ready to move on from Matt Forte…except for Jeremy Langford. Langford can say all the right things about the leadership Forte provides in the locker room and the example he displays on the field but the rookie out of Michigan State knows two things: (1) he’s not hurt and (2) Forte is.
Langford may be humble but he’s also a professional athlete. He knows Monday night in San Diego is an opportunity to make the Bears’ decision to move on from Forte this offseason an easy one. When a team has little chance of making anything out of their season, look for player motivation. Nobody Monday night has more than Langford.
Lack of San Diego rush / deep threat
There are two ways to beat this Bears defense. Actually, there are about thirteen, but who has time to list them all? The two most direct ways to attack: wear them down with a power run game an attack their underwhelming collection of corners over the top (which at worse will result in a pass interference call).
Can the Chargers really do either? Melvin Gordon is taking public criticism from his offensive coordinator and Keenan Allen, who might have put together a 11-171-3 type performance against this Bears team, suffered as brutal an injury as you’ll see in the NFL. Without these elements I can’t see the Chargers building enough of a lead to keep the Bears from (at worst) a backdoor cover.
Jay Cutler, Under the Radar
Most haven’t been paying attention to Cutler’s 2015 because most haven’t paid attention to the 2015 Chicago Bears. But in his last three four starts he has:
- Beaten the Oakland Raiders with a game-winning field goal drive.
- Beaten the Kansas City Chiefs with game-winning TD drive.
- Taken the Bears the length of the field in Detroit to force OT with only 21 seconds left.
- Led the Bears to a late go-ahead TD against Minnesota the defense subsequently squandered.
Cutler has been excellent in 2015. Nothing about the San Diego defense leads me to believe that will change.
WHY THE CHARGERS WILL COVER
Kevin Grauel is a contributor for Bolts From the Blue. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @BFTB_Chargers.
Despite how poorly the Chargers as a team have been playing, their quarterback is still putting up huge numbers. He leads the league in passing yards and completion percentage, and is tied for 3rd in passing touchdowns.
Offensive lineman (and receivers, and tight ends) are dropping like flies around him, but Rivers always gives his team a shot to win.
Jay Cutler in San Diego
Jay Cutler is a quarterback that is not well liked by fans in San Diego. The Rivers/Cutler rivalry doesn’t mean a whole lot any more, but there is no doubt Charger fans will be fired up to see him.
Some of his worst games have come in primetime in San Diego, including a 52-21 beatdown to end the 2008 season. The Chargers don’t often have a big home field advantage, but I believe this is one game where they will.
The Charger Way
For almost all of the years in San Diego since the Norv Turner era began, the Bolts seasons have gone mostly the same way. Start by struggling in the beginning of the season in to the middle, and once all hope seems lost turn up the heat and make a late season run.
The Chargers are certainly in desperate territory now, especially following losses to the Raiders and Ravens. Now that the season is almost over, it’s the perfect time for the Chargers to make that late-season surge.
Join the debate. Who covers the spread on Monday night: Bears or Chargers?