Jaguars vs. Bears Odds & Picks: Chicago Should Cover Sunday’s Big Spread
Quinn Harris/Getty Images. Pictured: Mitchell Trubisky.
Jaguars vs. Bears Odds
The Chicago Bears (7-7) have won two games in a row after a brutal six-loss streak and sit just one game behind the Arizona Cardinals (8-6) for the final playoff spot.
The Bears now travel to Jacksonville to take on a Jaguars team on a 13-loss streak with the inside track to the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
This should be an easy Chicago win, but will the Bears cover?
Chicago has ruled out cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson (shoulder) and Buster Skrine (concussion) while tight end Demetrius Harris (foot) is listed as doubtful.
Chicago has an extensive group of players listed as questionable, including receivers Allen Robinson II (hamstring) and Cordarrelle Patterson (knee), defensive tackles Akiem Hicks (ankle) and Bilal Nichols (knee), defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. (hamstring), outside linebacker Khalil Mack (shoulder) and safety Deon Bush (foot).
Head coach Matt Nagy remained optimistic that all should play on Sunday.
Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has shown improvement in the Bears’ last four games. He has two top-10 fantasy performances at the position, including 267 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 14 against Houston.
He continues to rely on leading wideout Robinson, who has posted at least 74 yards in each of the past four games. In Week 14, Robinson notched the overall WR2 performance with nine receptions, 123 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Chicago’s offense has been led by a rejuvenated David Montgomery, who has been dominant over the past month with consecutive performances as the overall RB6, RB1, RB6 and RB2.
Montgomery is one of the few three-down workhorse backs, ranking sixth in rushing yards (906) and ninth in receptions (43). He has nine games of three or more receptions. Now he faces a Jacksonville defense that ranks fourth in schedule-adjusted fantasy points to opposing running backs (per 4for4).
The Bears’ defense has once again been pressuring the quarterback, averaging four sacks per game over the past three contests. They’ll have opportunities against a Jaguars offensive line that ranks just 22nd in adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders.
Running back James Robinson isn’t expected to play while wide receiver Collin Johnson (hamstring) and cornerback Sidney Jones IV (Achilles) have already been ruled out.
Robinson’s injury is the most concerning for the Jaguars. He’s been the focal point of their attack, ranking first overall in opportunity share, third in rushing yards and fifth in receptions at the position. If he can’t go as reported, they’ll turn to backups Devine Ozigbo (zero carries and eight receptions) and pass-catcher Dare Ogunbowale (seven total touches).
Jacksonville curiously turns the quarterback reigns back over to Mike Glennon instead of Gardner Minshew. After a solid Week 12 performance, Glennon produced only the QB25 and QB31 performances the past two weeks.
In last week’s 40-14 blowout loss to Baltimore, he was actually replaced by Minshew. Any chance for this offense to keep pace firmly relies on Minshew Magic. The mid-week competition between Glennon and Minshew after last week certainly has raised eyebrows.
The Jaguars do have wide receiver depth with D.J. Chark, Keelan Cole and rookie Laviska Shenault. However, their most productive receiver the past few weeks has been Johnson, who is now out.
The Ravens’ pass defense has been strong all season, but did show cracks against the Browns’ below-average passing attack in Week 14. Baker Mayfield tallied 343 passing yards and repeatedly attacked the Ravens with passes to Kareem Hunt (six receptions, 77 receiving yards and one touchdown).
The Jaguars’ offense will need to score to offset a defense that’s among the NFL’s worst — they rank dead last in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA. They’ve also allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and the fifth-most to opposing running backs.
NFL teams certainly do not “tank,” but the move back to Glennon after he was replaced by Minshew in Week 15 has raised eyebrows. More importantly, since the Jaguars offense has relied on Robinson so heavily, they’ll be stifled without him.
The Bears’ rushing attack and defense have been their most reliable units this season — and they should be enough to get the cover on Sunday.
I’m laying the 7.5 points on the road with the Bears in a game that they desperately need to bolster their playoff chances.
Pick: Bears -7.5