The struggling Chicago Bears will be without their best and most versatile offensive player when they visit the sliding San Diego Chargers on Monday night in a matchup of a pair of two-win teams. Dual-threat running back Matt Forte is expected to miss the contest with a knee injury sustained in last Sunday’s last-second loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
“Nobody comes and rescues you,” Chicago coach John Fox said when it comes to replacing key injured players. “You have to make do with what you have,” San Diego knows what that feels like after leading receiver Keenan Allen was placed on season-ending injured reserve this week with a kidney injury suffered in Sunday’s narrow loss at Baltimore. Allen ranked second in the league with 67 receptions for San Diego, which is attempting to halt a four-game losing streak. “I think you’ve got to just keep believing and keep plugging along,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. “As quickly as we’ve lost four in a row, we could win four in a row.”
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: The Chargers opened as 4-point home favorites and were briefly bet up to -4.5, before coming back down to the opening number. The total has been bet down a point from 50 to 49.
Bears – LB P. McPhee (questionable Monday, knee), T J. Bushrod (questionable Monday, concussion), LB S. McClellin (questionable Monday, leg), C H. Grasu (questionable Monday, undisclosed), WR E. Royal (out Monday, knee), RB M. Forte (out Monday, knee), WR K. White (out indefinitely, shin).
Chargers – CB B. Flowers (probable Monday, knee), CB P. Robinson (probable Monday, concussion), TE A. Gates (probable Monday, knee), DB D. Stuckey (probable Monday, hamstring), CB J. Verrett (probable Monday, groin), G C. Watt (questionable Monday, shoulder), CB C. Mager (questionable Monday, hamstring), G O. Flanklin (questionable Monday, knee), S E. Weddle (questionable Monday, groin), T K. Dunlap (questionable Monday, ankle), DE C. Liuget (questionable Monday, foot), TE L. Green (questionable Monday, ankle), LB M. Te’o (doubtful Monday, ankle), LB T. Williams (I-R, foot), WR K. Allen (I-R, kidney), RB B. Oliver (I-R, toe).
WEATHER REPORT: It will be mostly cloudy at kickoff with a 49 percent chance of rain as the night moves along. Temperatures will be in the low 60’s with a nine mile per hour wind blowing towards the eastern end zone.
ABOUT THE BEARS (2-5, 3-4 ATS, 3-4 O/U): Rookie Jeremy Langford, a fourth-round draft pick out of Michigan State, rushed for 46 yards on 12 carries after Forte was hurt last week and will likely receive a heavy workload as Chicago tries to keep the ball out of the hands of Rivers. Quarterback Jay Cutler will also be without slot receiver Eddie Royal, but Alshon Jeffrey is healthy after missing four games and has 18 receptions for 263 yards and two touchdowns in the past two contests. The Bears allow only 214.3 passing yards per game but rank near the bottom of the league in interceptions (four) and sacks (12).
ABOUT THE CHARGERS (2-6, 3-5 ATS, 4-4 O/U): Rivers has thrown for more than 300 yards in five consecutive games and is on pace for a 5,500-yard season but San Diego keeps coming up short, losing its past games by a total of 18 points. Rivers has thrown for 13 touchdowns against only three interceptions over the last five contests and the Chargers are averaging a league-high 423.3 total yards, but they are 28th in the league in points allowed (28.4) – one slot above the Bears (28.9). Rookie first-round pick Melvin Gordon has been a disappointment in the ground game, surpassing 54 yards only once.
* Bears are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games versus a team with a losing record.
* Chargers are 1-8 ATS in their last nine home games.
* Under is 8-1 in Bears last nine games versus a team with a losing record.
* Over is 4-0 in Chargers last four versus a team with a losing record.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The public is backing the home team in this Monday Night Football showdown, with 63.47 percent of the wagers on the Chargers.