Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Rams Matchup Preview (9/12/21): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)

Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Rams Matchup Preview (9/12/21)

The first Sunday Night game is quickly approaching and this game has the chance to be a classic. Not because it will be a shootout, it wont’ be even close to a shootout, but it should be a close one. On the contrary, this game is between two of the best defensive teams in the NFL last season. The Rams have shoved their chips all in again this season as they traded QB Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford to finally give the Rams an elite quarterback to go alongside their scary defense. The Bears also have a new quarterback. While it won’t be first-round draft pick Justin Fields, it will be free agent Andy Dalton starting for Chicago. We’ll see how long that lasts in a game where we will figure out a lot about these two teams. 

TV Schedule

Date: September 12, 2021
Time: 8:20 pm ET
Location: SoFi Stadium – Englewood, CA
Coverage: NBC

Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Rams Live Stream

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Injuries

Bears 

RB Tarik Cohen (ACL) 
DT Mike Pennel (Groin)
DE Mario Edwards Jr. (Suspension)
S Jordan Lucas (Quadriceps)

Rams

P Johnny Hekker (COVID-19)
RB Cam Akers (Achilles)
G Jamil Demby (Undisclosed)
WR Justin Sumpter (Undisclosed)

Chicago Bears Analysis

The Bears finally have their quarterback for the future for the first time in what feels like forever. QB Justin Fields was selected with the 11th overall pick in this year’s draft and he has looked better than advertised in the preseason. Fields is the perfect fit for the Bears as he was the biggest and fastest quarterback in his class. Fields has the size and speed necessary to avoid the rush that the porous Bears offensive line will let up and still has the arm strength necessary to throw a laser down the field. Unfortunately for Bears fans, he won’t be starting Week 1 as they chose to give the nod to veteran QB Andy Dalton. Dalton is also in his first year with the team and has not looked dominant in the preseason with the rest of the Bears’ offensive starters. We’ll see if that was just preseason jitters or that’s the Bears offensive ceiling with Dalton because Bears head coach, Matt Nagy, and Bears GM, Ryan Pace, are on the hot seat this season. If they can’t produce results then they will certainly be fired. The Bears have too much talent on offense, defense, and finally, have a young promising quarterback to work with, so Nagy and Pace need to turn around this franchise immediately. 

The Bears are one of those teams that is a quarterback away from being a perennial playoff team. Their only issue on offense is their offensive line, which was ranked as the 4th worst offensive line last year. While they did get a good veteran tackle, Jason Peters, that won’t be enough to patch up the complete overhaul the Bears need on their line. Their backfield is promising as RB David Montgomery is the main bell cow for the team. Montgomery is a strong and tough runner who managed to gain over 1,400 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns behind a terrible offensive line. They also have one of the most dynamic backs in the league when healthy in Tarik Cohen who can do it all with the ball in his hands. The outside has plenty of talented players as Allen Robinson is their best player on offense. Robinson manages to get open regardless of who he faces because of his insane route-running skills and his great contested catch rate. Robinson has had nothing but terrible quarterbacks throwing to him but still managed to have 1,250 yards and 6 touchdowns last season. Robinson is the alpha on the team, but he’s not alone as he still has WR Darnell Mooney, WR Damiere Byrd, and TE Jimmy Graham beside him. Graham is a big-play target in the red zone while Byrd and Mooney are speedsters who can fly past defenders.  

Now we move on to their defense which is one of the best in the league. It all starts up front for Chicago and what better way to start than with one of the DPOY favorites LB Khalil Mack. Mack is one of the strongest men in the league as he tosses 300+ lbs men onto their backs effortlessly while also having the speed and hands to make him unblockable. Mack is one of the scariest players to face as he can wreck a game-plan if you don’t account for him, as evidenced by his 50 tackle and 9 sack season while being double-teamed the entire time. The Bears also have other star defenders like DT Akiem Hicks, S Eddie Jackson, LB Roquan Smith,  DT Eddie Goldman, and S Tashuan Gipson who are all monsters on the defensive side of the ball. Hicks, Goldman, and Smith all attack the quarterback like they are possessed while Jackson and Gipson lockdown wide receivers while also being ballhawks to any errant passes. The Bears’ defense has been the only thing keeping this team afloat the past couple of seasons and I don’t know how much longer this unit can keep carrying the team. The Bears need to finally have a competent offense or they will miss the playoffs this year. 

Chicago Bears Depth Chart

QB: Andy Dalton
RB1: David Montgomery
RB2: Damien Williams
WR1: Allen Robinson
WR2: Darnell Mooney
WR3: Dameire Byrd
TE1: Jimmy Graham
TE2: Cole Kmet

Los Angeles Rams Analysis

The new-look Rams are a team seriously contending for the Super Bowl this season. The big story with the Rams’ offseason was trading QB Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford. Goff wasn’t playing badly for the Rams, it just felt like he was slightly holding the team back. And that can’t happen for a team that has two of the best defenders in the NFL, a great supporting cast of offensive talent, and a prodigy as the coach. So now enter Matt Stafford, who has finally been freed from the NFL hell known as the Detroit Lions. Stafford has been the face of Detroit for 10 years and while he has never won a playoff game with the Lions, he has been putting up Hall of Fame numbers with one of the weaker supporting casts. Stafford is now 33 years old with the best opportunity of his career to play in important games but also has all of the pressure in the world to prove he can win the Super Bowl. Sean McVay has reached the Super Bowl with Jared Goff as his quarterback, so let’s see if McVay can get the most coveted award in pro sports with an upgrade at quarterback in Matthew Stafford. 

Around Stafford is the best supporting cast he’s ever had. Stafford finally gets to play with a defense that won’t blow a lead and with receivers who might not be Calvin Johnson but are some of the top players in the league. He also gets a solid offensive line that was ranked as the 8th best last season. Not everything is sunny for Stafford and the Rams as they lost their star running back this offseason. RB Cam Akers went down with an Achilles injury this offseason meaning that RB Darell Henderson and newly acquired RB Sony Michel will need to pick up the slack. On the perimeter, the Rams have a dangerous trio of receivers in Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Van Jefferson. Woods and Kupp both had 900+ receiving yards and 3+ touchdowns seasons last year and those numbers could skyrocket when catching balls from an elite quarterback like Stafford. Jefferson showed some promise in his first year as a pro and will be competing with DeSean Jackson for time on the field. The Rams were the 11th ranked offense last year and their offensive numbers are going to explode this year with a much better quarterback. 

Now we turn our attention to the number 1 ranked defense Los Angeles has. That’s right, the Rams had the #1 ranked defense last season and it was because of their two star players. We can’t mention the Rams without talking about superstar DT Aaron Donald. Donald is the favorite to win the DPOY award after already winning the award 2 times before. Donald had a 2020 to remember as he recorded 13.5 sacks and 45 tackles. Donald has been the most dominant player in the NFL for a couple of seasons and will need to have another incredible season if the Rams want to win the Super Bowl.

Moving onto the secondary we can find the ultimate ballhawk, CB Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey is a top 10 player in the league and the number 1 cornerback to fear because of his great size, speed, and intelligence. Ramsey only finished the season with 1 INT and 44 tackles, but that was only because teams were scared to go his way. Besides those two, the Rams have some real ballers like DE A’Shawn Robinson, LB Leonard Floyd, CB Darious Williams, and S Jordan Fuller. Williams and Fuller will be especially important this season as they are replacing great secondary players like CB Troy Hill and S John Johnson, who funnily enough both went to Cleveland, and Floyd and Robinson will need to help Donald in the pass-rushing department again this season.

The Rams are one of the most complete teams in the NFL this season with only a select number of teams and injuries keeping them from winning the Super Bowl. With the upgrade of Stafford at quarterback to go alongside that great overall team with a fantastic coach, don’t be surprised if the Rams are holding the Lombardi Trophy over their heads this season. 

Los Angeles Rams Depth Chart

QB: Matthew Stafford
RB1: Darrell Henderson
RB2: Sony Michel
WR1: Robert Woods
WR2: Cooper Kupp
WR3: Van Jefferson
TE1: Tyler Higbee

Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Rams Betting Corner

This is going to be one of the easier Week 1 games to pick. In his three games against the Bears, Sean McVay has Matt Nagy in his back pocket as he has won two out of three games. McVay hasn’t even done it his way as the scores of those games have been 6-15 Bears, 7-17 Rams, and 10-24 Rams. Nagy has figured out how to slow down the complicated offense that McVay runs, but that’s only because he has had great defensive coordinators and one of the best defenses in the NFL. While the Bears’ defense and offense haven’t improved over the offseason, the Rams have improved dramatically. They have a top 10 quarterback to pair with their incredible defense and great skill position players. For this game, with Andy Dalton starting at quarterback for the Bears, Chicago doesn’t have a chance.

The Rams are just better on offense, defense, and are just better coached than the Bears. The only way that the Bears keep this close is having their great defense forcing a ton of turnovers and running the ball effectively. I don’t see that happening, but I do see some growing pains coming from a Rams team that didn’t play their starters for the entire preseason. Expect the Rams to cover and continue the trend of these matchups going very far under the set points total. 

Prediction: -7.5 Rams & under 44.5 pts

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Currently a junior at Trinity College looking to complete a mathematics major. Grew up in New Jersey but is in love with the New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, and Boston Red Sox. Chris is also a Tom Brady and Gardner Minshew super fan, plays club basketball at Trinity, and enjoys watching the NFL, NBA, CFB, and CBB.

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