The New England Patriots (10-2) and the Chicago Bears (9-3) go at each other in this week's most anticipated game of the week. Both are at their peak in the season looking to further their win streak and gain some space and momentum as they fight for playoff spots.
New England is coming off a sensational win over the New York Jets in which they blew out the Jets 45-3. They made the now 9-3 Jets look like school yard kids, and now the Patriots are fighting to keep their division lead.
The highest scoring offense goes against one of the best defenses in the league. This game is going to be a power-against-power match. Brady will definitely test the reborn Chicago defense, but will Cutler and the newly balanced offense have its way with the below average New England defense?
New England's defense is last in yards allowed per game and passing yards allowed per game, 19th in total points allowed, and 19th in rushing yards allowed. It's a defense that can be exploited with a good balanced run and pass game, something that Chicago has had the past five weeks.
Last time these two played was 2006. They were both in the top of their division and combined for nine turnovers. Turnovers are going to be the key to this game. The Patriots are tied in the AFC for most interceptions, and the Bears defense has a knack for knocking the ball loose.
The short passes to Wes Welker has the possibility to disrupt the Bear's cornerbacks in their Tampa defense, and the deep passes up the middle can exploit the gap just behind Urlacher and the linebackers.
It's an offense that can do a lot of harm to any team, so a pass rush is key to a Bear's win. Recently Chicago has only rushed four men but it has proved very effective, and Julius Peppers has forced offensive lines to block up-and-coming Israel Idonije.
The Bears have dismissed a lot of their early critics, and are playing like a totally different team which should make this game a much more contested matchup.
But New England is also no joke, and they showed how dangerous they can be once Brady and the offense get going.
Temperatures are going to be snowy and cold, adding a nice touch to December football. Since it's in Chicago, I am giving the Bears some leeway, but this is their toughest game yet this season. They might just want to avoid watching the tape of last week's Patriots beat-down. It might spread some fear in the defense.
With that, I am predicting a 30-24 New England win.
New England Patriots at Chicago Bears
- Patriots-Bears Date: Sunday, December 12
- Patriots-Bears Kickoff Time: 4:05 pm
- Patriots-Bears TV Network: CBS
- Patriots-Bears Announcers: Jim Nantz and Phil Simms
- Patriots-Bears Point Spread: Patriots -3
- Patriots-Bears Over-Under: 38