I hope everyone enjoyed their long weekend free of Chicago Bears football causing them pain.
But now we’re back on the national stage and it’s the New England Patriots. The Patriots may not be the juggernaut they were a few years ago, but they’re a well-coached, talented roster that is playing very well right now, especially on defense.
That’s a scary proposition for the Bears, who can’t seem to get anything right.
Let’s break it down.
New England Patriots
SB Nation site: Pats Pulpit
Record: 3-3, third in AFC East
Last week: 38-15 win over the Browns
Game day, time, TV: Monday, 7:15 p.m. CT, ESPN
Spread: According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bears are 8-point underdogs to the Patriots. The total is set at 40.
Bears all-time record against: 4-10
Historical meetings: This will be the first-ever Monday Night Football meeting between these teams. In fact, it will be the first non-Sunday match-up ever.
The last time the Bears beat the Patriots was Bill Belichick’s first season as head coach.
It was week 15, 2000, the 3-10 Bears and 4-9 Patriots met at Soldier Field.
Drew Bledsoe hit Terry Glenn for a touchdown in the second quarter and after a field goal, the Bears answered back and Shane Matthews hit Eddie Kennison for a touchdown right before halftime.
Coming out of halftime, the Bears again drove down the field, this time 64 yards, culminating with a James Allen 16-yard touchdown run.
At the end of the third the Bears drove 56 yards over 11 plays and on the first play of the fourth quarter, Matthews hit Allen for a 6-yard touchdown.
The Patriots answered right back, driving 73 yards for a touchdown to make it 24-17 Bears.
That score held though, as the teams traded punts and the Bears missed a late field goal attempt.
Last meeting: A wild, 38-31 Bears loss at Soldier Field in week 7 of 2018. Mitch Trubisky scored on a long, winding scramble and Kevin White had a shot at a hail Mary pass to tie it at the end of regulation but came up short.
Injury report: With it being a Monday night game, the first injury report won’t be out until later today.
Offense: The Patriots come into Monday ranked 11th in points and 13th in yards.
Their passing offense ranks 19th and their rushing offense ranks 10th.
It’s unclear if Mac Jones (66 pct cmp/786 yds/2 TD/5 INT) or the rookie Bailey Zappe (72.9/596 yds/4/1) under center for the Patriots.
Whoever it is, will be throwing to Jakobi Meyers (24 rec/321 yds/1 TD), Nelson Algholor (14/225/1), Hunter Henry (13/156/1) and DeVante Parker (12/253/1).
Their ground attack is led by Rhamondre Stevenson (87 att/448 yds/3 TD), who is also second on the team in receptions (17 for 86 yards). Behind him is Damien Harris (57/257/3).
Defense: The Patriots defense enters this week ranked seventh in points allowed and 13th in yards allowed.
They rank 14th in passing defense and 17th in rushing defense.
Led by veterans like Devin McCourty (29 tkls/1 PD), Adrian Phillips (29 tkls/2 PD/2TFL), DL Deatrich Wise (5 sk/2 FF/4 TFL), Matt Judon (6 sk/1 PD/1 FF/5 TFL/12 QB hits) and Jalen Mills (2 INT/2 PD/17 tkls).
There’s also Jack Jones (2 INT/4 PD/1 FR) and Kyle Duggar (1 INT/2 PD/1 FR/23 tkls).
Key matchups: Another week, another tough test for the offensive line. The Patriots are top 10 in blitz percentage and in pressure percentage. Bill Belichick didn’t get to where he is without exploiting the weakest part of opponents and I think we all know where Chicago’s weakness is. They have the eighth-most sacks in the league, too.
It’s also going to be a battle for the Bears’ running backs, as the Patriots have allowed just two rushing touchdowns this season, tied for the second-fewest in the league.
For the Bears’ defense, disrupting whichever quarterback will be key. The Patriots have been efficient, but unspectacular this year. They are second in net yards per pass attempt and are 10th in adjusted net yards per pass attempt. They have thrown the third-most interceptions in the league (most by Mac Jones though).
The Patriots rank eighth in yards per play at 5.9, tied with the Chiefs and Saints.
- Both teams are better running teams. The Pats rank 10th in rushing yards per game, while the Bears rank second.
- The Bears are actually statistically a better red zone offense than the Patriots. Chicago ranks 28th with a 46.7 percent scoring in the red zone, while the Patriots are 29th at 45 percent.
- The Patriots are definitely a running, ranking sixth in rushing attempts against 28th in passing attempts.
- New England’s offense has 11 turnovers this season, fourth-most this season.
- In their last five meetings, the Bears have been outscored 175 (35 points per game) to 104 (20.8 per game). Other than the two beatdowns everyone remembers (51-23 in ‘14 and 36-7 in ‘10), the margin of victory for New England has been 3 (‘02), 4 (‘06) and 7 (‘18).
Can the Bears win their first game against Bill Belichick since 2000? What needs to happen for them to pull it off?