Game: Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers
Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Odds: Bears +7, Steelers -7
Tonight’s NFL primetime game in Pittsburgh features two teams that appear to be headed in different directions. The Steelers started the 2021 season 1-3 with a surprising road win over Buffalo in Week 1 before dropping three straight. The Bears started 3-2 after beating a pretty good Raiders team caught in the midst of the whole Jon Gruden ordeal. Since, Chicago has lost three straight. The Steelers, on the other hand, responded with three straight wins.
Chicago is now a 7-point underdog on the road against a Pittsburgh team that is starting to put it all together. The Steelers’ defense has always been a strength. In their previous game against Cleveland, Pittsburgh harassed Browns QB Baker Mayfield all game long and ended up sacking him four times. The Steelers also held the NFL’s top-ranked rushing offense to just 96 yards on 23 carries. So far this season, Pittsburgh in ranked 11th in total defense allowing opponents 345.7 yards per game. The Steelers rank seventh in scoring defense allowing 20.3 points per game.
It was supposed to be a similar situation in Chicago. The Bears’ defense was thought to be a strength, but Chicago has given up 30 or more points in its last two games in a row. Last week, it was a 33-22 loss to San Francisco. The week before, the Bears dropped an ugly 38-3 decision to defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay.
To make a bad situation even worse, former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack could miss tonight’s game. He did not play last week due to a foot injury. If he doesn’t play, Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger could have a day like San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo had last week against the Bears. Garoppolo threw for 322 yards and ran for two touchdowns.
Now, Pittsburgh’s offense has been known to struggle. Recently though, the Steelers have been leaning on rookie RB Najee Harris who has played a big role in the team’s three-game win streak. Harris rushed for 91 yards in the win over the Browns. He had 81 against Seattle and 122 in a win over Denver. If Harris has success, Pittsburgh’s offense will have success.
If there is an offense worse than Pittsburgh, it’s the Bears. Chicago is the only team in the NFL with more rushing yards than passing yards. The Bears are 32nd in the league in both pass offense and total offense (264 ypg). They average just 15.4 points per game, which ranks 31st in the NFL.
The result of Chicago’s lack of offense is a 3-7 record against the spread in their last ten games. Pittsburgh isn’t much better. The Steelers are 2-4 ATS in their last six games. Monday’s total has dipped all the way to 39 as both teams trend toward the Under. The Under is 6-1 in the Bears’ last seven games and 5-2 in the Steelers’ last seven.