A battle of two strong defensive teams as the Chicago Bears travel to Los Angeles to play the Rams on Monday Night Football. Ben Steele picks out his best bets...
"After six games Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has registered a league leading seven and a half sacks and has taken up his traditional position as favourite to win the Defensive Player of the Year award."
Foles may cope with Donald but Rams could still profit
After six games Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has registered a league leading seven and a half sacks and has taken up his traditional position as favourite to win the Defensive Player of the Year award. Tonight's game features a pass happy Chicago Bears side led by quarterback Nick Foles, who has never been sacked by Donald in the three games he's played against him. Foles started the season on the bench before replacing Mitch Trubisky and leading Chicago to an impressive comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons. Since that game the Bears gameplan has been to lean heavily on Foles, throwing the ball 41 times a game.
With Foles throwing that often, and with a player the calibre of Donald chasing him down, the likes of Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams in the Rams secondary could well fancy their chances of extending Foles' run of throwing an interception in every game he has played for the Bears. With that in mind, the Rams defence/special teams are a good price at 5/1 to score their first touchdown of the season.
However, the Bears won't be put off by any Foles mistakes and have shown throughout the season that they are committed to throwing the ball. The Chicago QB's passing yard line is set at 246.5 tonight and I'd expect him to comfortably go over that line.
Goff will have to improve for LA
Just like Foles, LA Rams quarterback Jared Goff has to cope with a former Defensive Player of the Year from the 2014 Draft class. Khalil Mack will be aiming to disrupt Goff's play with as much success as the San Francisco 49ers had last week. The 49ers were the first team this season to hold Goff below a 65% completion percentage and came out of the game with a victory as a result.
In a season where the Rams are among the lead leaders when it comes to the run game, head coach Sean McVay relies on Goff's accuracy to keep the LA offence ticking over on passing downs and then take advantage as opposing defences begin to over-commit in an attempt to stop the run. Averaging 262 yards and 1.6 touchdown passes a game, Goff is clearly comfortable with the gameplan and will look to attack the Bears. With Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods both reliable pass catching options and running back Darrell Henderson running the ball more effectively with every passing week LA are considerably more balanced than Chicago, which makes life a little more difficult for the Bears defensive unit.
While the Rams offensive line will have to stop Mack, I expect Goff to throw for Over 245.5 in a Los Angeles win.
Robinson should improve against former teammate
Chicago's wide receiver Allen Robinson will face off against cornerback Jalen Ramsey in a matchup that took place week in week out on the Jacksonville Jaguars practice field from 2016-2018. Ramsey was vocal about his disappointment when Robinson was traded away from the Jaguars in 2018 but he certainly won their first battle as opponents, when they faced off in 2019. Robinson was held to just four catches for 15 yards last year but I'm expecting him to have the better of it on Monday Night Football.
So far this season Robinson has made 40 catches and is yet to drop a single catchable ball thrown his way. At 6ft 2 and 100kgs Robinson is slightly bigger than Ramsey, who is certainly one of the more physical corners in the game, but LA's early season defensive struggles could well benefit Robinson. The Rams have struggled immensely against slot receivers this season and have addressed this by moving Ramsey to lineup as the slot corner, a decision that has certainly helped fill the gap in their defensive scheme.
However, this will mean that Robinson is guarded by a less physical opponent on the outside for Chicago, giving him a good chance to add to his impressive 2020 season totals. At 6/4 to score anytime I'm backing Robinson to grab his third touchdown of the season.
Ben Steele NFL P/L:
Staked: 23 points
Returned: 23.6 points
P/L: +0.6 points