The first Sunday Night Football game of the 2021 NFL season features teams with a new starting quarterback. The acquisition of Matthew Stafford has the Los Angeles Rams positioned as a favorite to win the NFC West, despite not playing in a game for his new team yet.
The QB carousel continues for the Chicago Bears, who could have their franchise signal-caller in Justin Fields, though the club announced veteran Andy Dalton as the starter. It seems like only a matter of time before Fields takes the field. The Rams opened as a 7-point favorite in the final game of the NFL betting weekend.
The Week 1 NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams will take place at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA at 8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 12 and will be televised on NBC.
Chicago Bears vs Los Angeles Rams Odds
Chicago Bears +7.5 | Los Angeles Rams -7.5 [BET NOW]
Chicago Bears vs Los Angeles Rams Money Line
Chicago Bears +281 | Los Angeles Rams -350 [BET NOW]
Chicago Bears vs Los Angeles Rams Over/Under
Over/Under: 47 [BET NOW]
The Rams hit the board as a touchdown favorite with the spread wagered to LA -7.5. Stafford is expected to upgrade an offense that became stagnant under Jared Goff, but the defense was what helped the Rams win 10 games last season, their third double-digit regular season win total in Sean McVay’s four seasons. And considering Dalton struggled with Dallas last season and did little this preseason, it might be difficult for the Bears to dent the scoreboard. The teams met last season in LA with Goff and Nick Foles at QB. The Rams prevailed 24-10 covering the 6.5-point closing line while playing below the total of 44.
Matt Nagy set the bar high winning 12 games and a division title in his first season. After two straight 8-8 campaigns, he’s on the hot seat. In order to save his job he needs to put players on the field that give his team the best chance at winning. I get that Nagy wants to ease Fields into the starting role and learn the ropes. But after two seasons of pressure-packed football with massive numbers at Ohio State, why wait?
Dalton had a nice career with the Bengals, but the game has passed him by. Fields is the QB that can transform an offense that stunk last season and has been awful the past two years. They were 29th in scoring in 2019 and 22nd last year averaging 23.3 points. And against a defense that led the NFL in fewest yards and points allowed, Fields would bring a dimension to move the ball with his feet that Dalton just doesn’t possess.
The Bears will attempt to run the football to keep pressure off Dalton. They added Damien Williams to go along with David Montgomery for a nice backfield duo. They will be without Tarik Cohen until at least Week 7, though, as he continues to recover from a knee injury. With points difficult to come by, the Bears will turn to their defense. The group gets a new coordinator in Sean Desai and it’s expected to bring a lot of pressure to increase the sack and turnover total.
Los Angeles Rams
There is plenty of hype surrounding the Rams this season. They exceeded expectations last year winning 10 games and reaching the postseason for the third time in four years after dumping a number of players in a salary-cap purge. However, the offense took a step back and McVay lost trust in Goff, who tossed 13 interceptions and fumbled the ball seven times. After leading the NFL in scoring in their 2017 Super Bowl season, the Rams dropped to 22nd last year.
The addition of Stafford should energize the offense and along with a stout defense the Rams have the makeup of a contending team. Stafford had some fantastic years in Detroit though a majority of his time was spent on horrendous teams. He threw for over 4,000 yards with 26 touchdowns last year despite being hounded and not having a reliable run game.
As long as Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey are on the field the defense will again be solid. Despite only blitzing a quarter of the time, the Rams generated a lethal push up front with Donald collecting 13.5 of the team’s 52 sacks. Ramsey had only one interception, but teams for the most part stayed away from him. Taking away the top pass catching threat will limit what the Bears can do through the air.
Bears vs Rams Prediction
Our picks: Los Angeles Rams -7.5 and UNDER 47
It might take a few possessions before Stafford feels comfortable in the offense, but the Rams have significantly more pop and the defense should limit what the Bears do offensively. The Rams cashed the UNDER in eight straight home games and the total of 47 seems way high. It’s hard to give 7.5-points, but I like the Rams and the UNDER.
View today’s NFL Week 1 odds.