Chicago Bears: Should They Really Be Favored Against the Buffalo Bills?
The Bears head into Sunday's contest against the Buffalo Bills as slight favorites against a winless squad. As of Friday, they were three-point favorites against the lowly Bills, but with Buffalo playing so well in their past couple of games, are the Bears really the favorite here?
Chicago had to answer questions about their direction all week during the bye. After two straight losses in very winnable games, they appear to be headed south, especially with division leader Green Bay beginning to get healthier.
In the past two weeks, the Bills have nearly upset contending teams. The most surprising of the pair of contests was their three point loss to Baltimore. The Bills held a 14 point lead on the Ravens, but quickly blew it to go down by 10. However, Ryan Fitzpatrick led them back, tossing four touchdowns as the Bills forced overtime, with the Ravens kicking a field goal to win it.
It was the same story last week for Buffalo. After keeping the game close despite over 200 rushing yards from the Chiefs, the Bills lost with just five seconds left in overtime, after Rian Lindell missed a field goal that could have won it earlier in the OT.
If the Bears want to avoid looking foolish against the Bills, they will have to run the ball. That's easier said than done for this year's Bears. While they haven't run the ball well at all, they haven't tried much either, having been stuck in Mike Martz's pass-first offense. The good news for Matt Forte and Chester Taylor is that the Bills are dead last in the NFL in rushing defense, as evidenced by the 177 yards from Jamaal Charles.
As it has so much this season, the Bears' success, or lack thereof, will come from their offensive line. Even with Jay Cutler struggling as much as he did against Washington, much of that can be attributed to the offensive line play, along with his receivers' inability to run routes. This week should show a different type of Bears offense, as they look to "get off the bus running."
With how well the Bills have played these past couple of weeks, it should come as no surprise to anyone if Sunday's contest proves to be a close one. However, against an 0-7 squad, anything that isn't a blowout will be considered a failure on the Bears side. After the play we've seen from the Bears, it's almost possible to see the Bills being favored in this game.
If Mike Martz has any brain cells left, we will see the Bears come out and run the football. If they don't, then it's going to be a long day for the Bears and their fans. We could see the Bills involved in a second-straight 13-10 type of game.
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