The Chicago Bears travel to Tennessee to take on a Titans team that has earned two of its three season victories in the past three weeks.
The Titans season hasn't gone as planned with quarterback Jake Locker missing significant time due to a shoulder injury and running back Chris Johnson continuing to underwhelm. Still, Locker's backup, Matt Hasselbeck, has done some good things for this team and even Johnson is showing signs of his old dominating ways.
The man formerly known as CJ2K has posted 91 or more yards in each of the past three weeks, including a 195-yard, two-touchdown game against the Bills. Hasselbeck's passing attack has likely helped Johnson's production. The veteran passer has just one game with under a 60 percent completion rate since filling in for Locker.
Tennessee's revived offense will be put to the test this week, as the Bears' defense scores almost as many points as their offense. Linebacker Brian Urlacher and Co. have posted 23 takeaways this season and a league-leading six touchdowns.
Here's everything you need to know about this AFC-NFC clash including fantasy predictions, spread information and more.
When: Sunday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. ET
Where: LP Field, Nashville, Tenn.
TV: Fox (check local listings)
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Listen: WGFX 104.5 FM (Tenn.), WDZ 1050 AM (Illinois.)
Spread: Chicago -3.5 (via betonline)
The Bears' offense isn't known for lighting up the scoreboard, but the same can't be said of their defense.
The Titans will be at home, this is true, but that shouldn't steer you from laying the points this week. If the Bears' aerial attack is ever going to get it together, it could easily do so against a less-than-stellar Titans defense.
With the potential of the Bears' passing attack waking up from hibernation and the plays their defense has made this season, this is an easy decision to make betting wise.
Over/Under: 43.5 (via betonline)
This is the more difficult decision to make when deciding where to put your money, but play it safe and take the under. The Carolina Panthers were the first team to score more than 18 points against the Bears' D since Week 1, and the Titans have only scored more than that total three times this season.
While Chicago's offense could awaken and score some big points in this contest, they're not going to get into the mid-30s points-wise. The Titans would be lucky to post more than 14 on their opponent's defense and the Bears can't reach the over all on their own.
Injury Report (via CBS Sports)
LB Patrick Bailey, Ribs, Questionable
WR Kenny Britt, Knee, Probable
CB Tommie Campbell, Ankle, Questionable
S Michael Griffin, Hip, Probable
QB Jake Locker, Left Shoulder, Out
LB Colin McCarthy, Ankle, Questionable
WR Nate Washington, Knee, Probable
DE Kamerion Wimbley, Toe, Probable
LB Will Witherspoon, Hamstring, Questionable
WR Alshon Jeffery, Hand, Out
TE Matt Spaeth, Ankle, Questionable
Fantasy Big Plays
Tennessee Titans: WR Nate Washington
The Titans' entire offense is going to have a hard time moving down the field against this imposing Chicago defense, but garbage time is still counted in fantasy. Washington has been the most reliable wide receiver for this team this year and will likely be Hasselbeck's go-to guy all game long.
The veteran wideout has posted at least 43 yards in all but one game and has three touchdown receptions this season. Not the most impressive of numbers, but it's not as if any of the other receivers has done better. The much-hyped Kenny Britt for example, has just one touchdown and no 100-yard receiving days this season.
If you can, avoid playing any Titans this week. If you have bye week woes or have been bitten by the injury bug, Washington is your best option.
Projected Stats: 4 receptions, 60 yards, 1 TD
Chicago Bears: WR Brandon Marshall
The easy name to talk about for Chicago is Matt Forte, but his owners likely don't plan on sitting him this or any other week as long as he's healthy. If you're looking for another Bear who will put up big fantasy numbers in this one, look no further than Brandon Marshall.
While the Chicago offense as a whole hasn't been putting up gaudy numbers, that doesn't mean Marshall has suffered the same fate.
The former Bronco and Dolphin has three games with over 100 yards receiving and just one game with less than 71. He's also caught four touchdown passes so far this year.
Marshall has a solid chance of finding the end zone in this contest and the chemistry between him and Cutler is well documented given their time together in Denver.
Projected Stats: 8 receptions, 112 yards, 1 TD
Key To Victory
Ultimately this game is only going to be close if the Titans defense can step up and the Bears defense trips up.
Chicago needs to do what everyone around the league expects it to do and shut down a mediocre Tennessee offense on the road. Their opponent needs to do what almost nobody expects them to do and that's keep the Bears' defense on its heels.
If the Titans defense can show up and rattle Cutler early, he'll be more likely to make mistakes and less likely to torch their secondary. Then they just have to keep Forte in check on the ground and hope Hasselbeck and offense find a way to score a lot.
The Titans will have home-field advantage, but that's just about the only advantage they have in this one. This home team is going to need its offense to be something it hasn't been all year—and that's dominant.
Chicago has just one loss all season and it came against a pretty good Green Bay Packers unit. At times, the Bears have looked like potential NFC champions and they will again in Week 9. The current NFC North leaders will emerge with a 7-1 record before a tough home game against Houston in Week 10.
Final Score: Chicago 27, Tennessee 10
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