This Sunday night (10/29/23), the Chicago Bears will visit the Los Angeles Chargers for a cross-conference primetime clash. Get Bears vs. Chargers predictions below as our best bet is over 46.5 points.
Chicago Bears vs Los Angeles Chargers Prediction
After high hopes for a breakthrough this offseason, both the Chargers and Bears have been less competitive than expected to start the year. After starting 0-4, the Bears have won two of their last three games despite losing Justin Fields to a throwing hand injury, and they’ve been competitive in each of their last four contests after looking absolutely inert through the first three of the season. Undrafted free agent rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent has made a name for himself, as he was at the helm for a blowout of the Raiders, which was his first pro start.
The Chargers have also beaten those same Raiders, but the positives nearly end there. Other than a tight win over the Vikings, they’ve lost all of their other four games, three of which have been by one score. Brandon Staley’s game management continues to be just about the worst in football, while Justin Herbert has played far below his usual elite standard. Once again, this Chargers team has the talent to achieve great things, but this season is shaping up to be completely lost before long.
The LA defense has been a particular issue. Despite a bevy of talent, and Staley’s theoretical acumen as a former defensive coordinator, they rank 29th in DVOA and 31st in EPA, one of the league’s worst units no matter how you slice it. They’re especially bad at defending the pass, ranking 29th or worse in DVOA, EPA, and success rate when their opponents go to the air, making this a great game for Bagent to get comfortable.
It’s a similar story on the other side. The Chargers recently lethargic passing offense has every ability to build some confidence and make big plays against this Bears secondary, one of the league’s worst. They’re 29th and 30th in pass defense EPA and DVOA, respectively, and those numbers are no mirage; Herbert and wideout Keenan Allen, who has gotten off to a phenomenal start this season, should be able to move the ball at will.
That being said, the Bears should be able to run the ball pretty effectively. They’re third in rushing offense EPA and success rate, and with an increasingly productive interior o-line, thanks in enormous part to the return of Teven Jenkins at guard, they specialize in running the ball up the middle, especially with Fields out. This is the perfect strength against a Chargers d-line that has struggled on the interior, so the Bears should be able to move the ball and stay ahead of the chains.
Interestingly enough, these offenses are both top eight in red-zone efficiency, while the defenses are less excellent inside the 20. The Chargers rank 17th, while the Bears allow opponents to score on a whopping 76.19% of red zone drives, the second-worst figure in the NFL. It’s hard to know if the Chargers can execute consistently enough to pull away and cover a decently sized spread, but both teams should be able to both move the ball and finish drives routinely enough to hit the over for this total.
Chicago Bears vs Los Angeles Chargers Prediction: Over 46.5 Points
Chicago Bears vs Los Angeles Chargers Best Odds
Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are major home favorites with a spread of -8.5, and a moneyline of -425. The Bears are +350 to pull off the upset, and the over and under are both priced at -110 for a total of 46.5.
Chicago Bears vs Los Angeles Chargers Key Injuries
The most key injury for the Bears will of course be starting quarterback Justin Fields, while the Chargers are pretty healthy but tight end Gerald Everett is being listed as questionable for the contest.
Chicago Bears vs Los Angeles Chargers Key Matchups
With an inexperienced quarterback like Bagent, keeping the pocket clean will be vital for the Bears, while the Chargers offense will need to focus on early down ground success.
Chicago Bears Offensive Line vs. Los Angeles Chargers Pass Rush
The Chargers blitz at the 15th-highest rate in the league, but are 25th when it comes to pressuring quarterbacks. That being said, their defensive line’s adjusted sack rate is the league’s second-best, so it won’t be a walk in the park for a Bears O-line that has been trending up. Khalil Mack has had a resurgent year thus far, and Joey Bosa is improving too, so those two will be the main threats for Chicago’s tackles to keep in mind.
One of those tackles will be rookie Darnell Wright, who has experienced some understandable growing pains, but is looking better as the season goes on. He’ll be across the line from Larry Borom, who has been disappointing in relief of Braxton Jones, who could be returning from the IR soon but is not expected to play in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Chargers Rushing Offense vs. Chicago Bears Ground Defense
The Chargers haven’t run the ball particularly well this season, and turning that trend around could really help Herbert get back into a groove by taking some pressure off of him. That might be a surprisingly tall task against this Bears defense, which has quietly graded very well against the run, due in large part to the overhauled linebacking corps, especially newcomer T.J. Edwards.
The Chargers’ run game ranks just a touch above league average in terms of both EPA and DVOA, but their success rate is significantly lower at 22nd in the league. That means they’re relying on some home runs, rather than consistently solid carries, a sentiment that can possibly be attributed to their line, which ranks 28th in PFF’s run blocking grades. Star back Austin Ekeler has been mediocre since returning from injury. Overall, the Chargers will need more from their rushing offense going forward, and Sunday is the perfect time to start turning it around.