Chicago Bears vs Detroit Lions
I’m grabbing this line now before it hits 3. The Bears are playing inspired football under first year head coach Matt Eberflus, who has a knack for motivating his players going back to his days as defensive coordinator of the Colts. I questioned why the Bears decided to ship their second round pick in the 2023 draft to the Steelers for Chase Claypool, after receiving the Ravens second rounder in return for Roquan Smith (I’m sure the Steelers still would have accepted the Ravens pick, which will likely be much lower), but it’s clear they wanted an honest evaluation of Justin Fields, and after his performance over the past couple of weeks I can understand why. The Bears are finally scheming to Fields strengths, and I’m expecting another strong performance at home against a Lions team that’s coming off an emotional win against the Packers. Jared Goff has been atrocious away from Ford Field, only throwing 1 touchdown pass this season vs 4 interceptions, and despite my continual love for coach Dan Campbell and the Lions running game behind their elite offensive line, I think the Bears win this one by more than a field goal.
Kansas City Chiefs vs Jacksonville Jags
I’m still in a state of shock after watching the Chiefs need a late 4th quarter push to beat the Titans in overtime on Sunday night. While picking Kansas City to cover in my Early Leans preview last week, I wrote “I honestly can’t figure out how the Titans are 5-2, so kudos to Mike Vrabel for having done an amazing job, after the front office crippled his offense by deciding A.J. Brown wasn’t worth paying and trading him to the Eagles on draft night (I’d say that’s worked out pretty well for Philly thus far).” My respect for Mike Vrabel’s coaching ability has only grown since then, as I predicted that the Chiefs would get out to an early lead at home coming off their bye week, making King Henry (the Titans entire offense) a nonfactor. What shouldn’t be lost in the performance of the Titans defense routinely frustrating Patrick Mahomes for nearly 4 quarters, though, is the job the Chiefs defense did, holding Teneesee to just 7 yards over their final 10 drives of the game. Kansas City has shown a propensity for peaking as the season progresses defensively under coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, and rookie first round pick Trent McDuffie, who recently returned from IR, only adds to the equation. After nearly stumbling against the Titans, I expect the Chiefs to have a focused week of practice and come out looking like the team I expected in week 9.
San Francisco 49ers vs LA Chargers
Deebo Samuel practiced today coming off the Niners bye, after missing week 8 against the Rams (Deebo loves showing out against the Rams, not that it mattered to the outcome), and I’m downright giddy to watch him and CMC share the field together for the first time. I don’t think Brandon Staley is a good head coach, and hope the Chargers fire him and hire Frank Reich before someone else does. I feel bad for Justin Herbert, he deserves better than this, especially considering the way he’s soldiered through the rib injury he sustained against the Chiefs week 2, but this offense lacks firepower without Mike Williams & Keenan Allen, and after only managing two touchdowns against the Falcons, the Niners elite defense presents a much tougher task.