NFC teams with playoff aspirations meet on MNF to finish up Week 7
Week 7 of the 2020 NFL schedule will conclude with a game between two teams looking to keep their spots within the upper echelon of the NFC. The Chicago Bears (5-1) will travel to Southern California to take on the Los Angeles Rams (4-2) under the bright lights of "Monday Night Football." The Rams return home after last week's shocking loss in San Francisco to host a Bears team that's won two in a row. These two teams couldn't be more different from one another.
Los Angeles gets the job done with a fast-paced offense and an energetic and aggressive defense. While Chicago gets just enough from their offense with the defense stealing the show. It will be a nationally televised battle of wills on Monday night.
Monday Night Football: Chicago at Los Angeles
Kickoff: Monday, Oct. 26 at 8:15 p.m. ET
Spread: Rams -5.5
Three Things to Watch
1. The first-place Chicago Bears
The Bears have climbed their way to the top of the NFC North standings. Thanks to them solving the Tom Brady puzzle two weeks ago, picking up a big win in Carolina last week, and with Green Bay losing in Tampa Bay the same day, the Bears are now a game ahead of the Packers in the division. The defense has been the biggest key to their success as they've collected seven sacks, 14 quarterback hits, 15.5 tackles for a loss, 11 pass deflections, and four takeaways during this two-game streak.
The offense hasn't been great but it's done enough to keep the Bears competitive. They've scored 43 points over these last two weeks but 15 of those points have come from Cairo Santos' field goals. And Nick Foles' quarterback sneak into the end zone in Charlotte was the first time that the Bears had scored in the third quarter all season. Foles has shown improvement during this stretch (53-of-81, 441 yards, 3 total touchdowns, 5.7 ypa), but the running game is still stuck in neutral (98 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2.5 ypc).
Foles has steadied the ship but the Bears will need to be able to run the ball consistently in order to have success down the stretch.
2. The Rams can rebound
Losses don't seem to phase this Rams team much. After giving up a last-second touchdown to lose at Buffalo in Week 3, the Rams bounced back at home the next week by holding the New York Giants to just three field goals and limiting them to 159 passing yards. The following week they traveled to our nation's capital where they held Washington to just 10 points and 108 total yards. In both games, Los Angeles combined for 47 points, gained 724 total yards of offense, recorded 13 sacks, and 15 tackles for a loss.
The Rams have proven that they can quickly move past disappointing losses and that makes them dangerous. And after the mishap that occurred in the Bay Area, they'll be looking to take out those frustrations on Chicago.
3. Home sweet home
The Rams are loving their new digs at SoFi Stadium this year. They're 2-0 on their home field where they've outscored visitors 37-26. Jared Goff has completed 70 percent of his home pass attempts for 475 yards, a touchdown, and just one interception. The running back tandem of Darrell Henderson Jr., Malcolm Brown, and Cam Akers have combined for 183 rushing yards on the SoFi Stadium turf. While the defense has greeted visitors with eight sacks, 13 TFLs, 16 QB hits, and nine pass deflections.
This week, they'll be welcoming a Bears team that's unbeaten (3-0) on the road this season. A Bears team that's scored 80 of their 120 total points away from Soldier Field, and the offense has accumulated 1,061 total yards in road games despite some stretches of inconsistency, and questions about play-calling. Their defense has also been the backbone while traveling as they've posted seven sacks, 20 QB hits, 13.5 TFLs, and five takeaways in their white jerseys. Both teams will be tested during this game.
This is the third straight meeting between these teams. The Bears won a defensive affair at Soldier Field back in '18, and the Rams got payback at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum last year. The Bears lead the all-time series 54-37-3, but haven't won in Los Angeles since the 1993 season. But with the defense leading the way, the Bears will find a way to end their SoCal losing streak by winning a very close game.
Prediction: Bears 24, Rams 23
— Gabe Salgado is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He's a co-host of The Rewind Sports: 60. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.