Staff Picks – Ravens @ Bears – Week 11
Mike Page 3-7
Lamar Jackson is sick, and if he has what I had last week, he’s either not going to play, or he’s going to be unfocused, slow (by his standards), and weak-legged on the sloppy grass of Soldier Field. He’s been averaging ~10 rushes per game at a clip of 6 yards per rush – surprisingly low numbers given the national narrative around the heralded Ravens running game and Lamar as an MVP candidate. Expect the Bears to test his legs early by forcing him from the pocket – employing a hefty blitz package that Miami had great success with last week against the Ravens offense. It makes sense to force the Ravens to prove that they can counter these heavy blitzes after being unable to do so last week. They will probably lean heavily on their RBs and short quick throwing game. It’ll be up to our run defense and corners this week as a result, and even though Hicks and Mack are out, Eddie Goldman had his best game in 2 years against the Steelers, and “his arrow is pointing up” as our soon-to-be college offense coordinator Matt Nagy likes to say.
I wouldn’t be surprised if JF1 takes a step back this week after the bye, as his momentum has been slowed, and the Bears have never been ready to play after the off-week under Matt Nagy. He’s still going to flash his magic though, and that’s ultimately the only thing I really care about at this point of an otherwise uninspiring season.
Bears 24 – Ravens 21
Sean Fox 7-3
After a sorely needed Week 10 Bye for the Bears, they’ll take on a Ravens team coming off a huge upset loss to the Miami Dolphins (side note: how the hell did that happen?). The Bears should be getting some of their best defensive players back in Kalil Mack, Eddie Jackson and Hall. They’ll need them as Lamar Jackson (aside from last week) has looked great this season.
Lamar is passing with a ton of confidence, has finally established consistent connections with his top two targets (Marquise Brown/Mark Andrews) and looks to be forging a strong connection with his new rookie WR weapon, Rashod Bateman. Oh, and he’s still running the ball better than Mike Vick in his prime. With the Ravens dropping Le’veon Bell this week, it looks like Davonta Freeman takes over as the lead RB. He’s filled in admirably as the Ravens have dealt with one of the worst strings of injuries to their backfield anyone has ever seen before.
The Bears defense will face, arguably, it’s greatest test this week. This will be an important game for Roquan Smith and Alec Ogletree if he’s available. Both LBs have elite sideline to sideline speed and will be tasked with containing a QB who can take off for a big gainer at any moment. While the defense has done a good job of containing the TE this season, they’ll need to key Andrews as he’s Jackson’s security blanket.
Fields and Co. will need to put together another solid performance like they did in the 2nd half of that MNF game to keep it close with the Ravens. The Ravens D has shown they can be beat in the passing and running game. Having David Montgomery back to full speed should be a huge help for Fields if Nagy decides to dial up any play action. That’s a big if.
Ravens 30 – Bears 20
Ryan Dengel 7-3
How good was Justin Fields last Monday night? JF1 may be (he is) the most talented QB the Chicago Bears have ever had. It’s going to be fun to watch him continue to develop this season and beyond. Also, he’s not a huge lying d-bag like that QB up north – so we have that going for us… which is nice.
As for the Ravens game. The Chicago Bears haven’t won off of the bye since 2014. Matt Nagy led teams are atrocious (2-11) given more than seven days to prepare for a game, with one of those wins coming against the Detroit Lions. The Ravens are mad about their loss against the Dolphins. The Chicago Bears offense is starting to click, but the defense looks pretty darn bad without Khalil Mack. Lamar Jackson has to be licking his chops. The Chicago Bears are going to lose this game.
Ravens 31 – Bears 20
Jack Wright 8-2
The bye week evokes odd feels. Doesn’t it? I was glad to avoid the stress and frustration of a typical Bears game. However, I missed having our team on the docket. Have no fear, Week 11 is here! Week 11 brings Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Woosh. They looked ROUGH last week in their loss to the Dolphins. Miami’s frenetic, mammal blitzing created havoc for the Ravens. Mike Mulligan from 670 The Score does not believe Sean Desai and the Bears’ defense will adopt the Dolphin strategy. I tend to agree. The Bears will drop coverage and assign a spy to LJ. Doing so will allow him to slice and dice our talent poor defensive secondary. The offense will regress to the mean. 12 points? That’s right. Touchdown, safety, and a field goal. Stone cold lead pipe lock. Bears lose this one.
Raven 28 – Bears 12
Nick Henderson 6-4
I may love Lamar Jackson equally as much as I love the Chicago Bears; no joke. I have quite a few favorite players around the NFL, and it’s unfortunate that none of them play for my favorite team. Albeit true, I have never wanted one of my favorite players to succeed in lieu of my favorite team. Due to a $100 cash prize, today is different. Although I believe last week’s loss was good for us, I don’t believe there’s enough motivation in the world to help us stop Lamar. Plus, Lamar is coming off a pretty motivating loss as well. I got the Ravens.
Ravens 38 – Bears 24
Mike Oosterwyk 9-1
My predictions for the Steelers matchup had me unceremoniously declare that the Bears’ season was officially shot.
Despite an impressive second half performance, led by none other than JF1, the Bears’ hopes of sneaking into the playoffs has indeed passed them by. With that said folks, this does not mean that we can’t enjoy the continued development and growth of Justin Fields and look forward to what the future might hold.
There have been many comparisons drawn between Fields and Lamar Jackson, and this week against a Ravens team (6-3) that is coming off an upset loss against the Dolphins, I for one am looking forward to the battle between these two excitement machines.
What better way for Fields to announce his arrival than going head to head against one of the league’s most dynamic quarterbacks.
It could be a fun game on Sunday, however I am picking the Ravens to edge past the Bears in a tight one.
Ravens 24 – Bears 21
Luke O’Grady 6-4
Bears and Ravens are both coming off a bye of sorts. If you know anything about Matt Nagy, coming off a bye is a very bad thing for him haha…
All signs point to a Ravens win. They’re the better team and will likely be better prepared. Ravens could run away with this one if Lamar is healthy.
Hoping for a good game for JF1 but not expecting a pretty game from the Bears
Ravens 27 – Bears 14
Corie Walsh 6-4
This is a tough one, because I truly believe the Bears have the talent on their current roster to beat the Ravens. Plus the offense seems to finally be opening up with Lazor foreseeing the play calling potential that can be realized with a Quarterback like Fields. Unfortunately, for all the talent many of the players possess, the team as a whole is woefully lacking in coaching and game preparation. And that point is never more apparent than Da Bears after a Bye Week. As many of my colleagues have pointed out, the Bears are historically abysmal coming off the Bye, and there’s nothing about this team that makes me suspect this season will be any different.
But with that said, there’s a blinding silver lining to the rest of the season that makes me giddy despite the losses: Justin MF Fields. His progress won’t be perfectly linear, but it will be present. Like that perfectly thrown ball up the middle to Jimmy Graham, or that bomb to ARob down the sideline, both in the previous game against the Steelers. These are the things giving me LIFE in an otherwise completely mediocre run-of-the-mill-Nagy-era Bears football season.
Ravens 31 – Bears 24
Logan Bradley 9-1
The Ravens are a tough team to put your finger on, and it goes deeper than simply losing to a bad Miami Dolphins team on the road last weekend. Their pass defense ranks in the bottom part of the league, but at the same time, they do a great job of stopping teams from scoring in the red zone and are stiff on third down. I don’t have the numbers to back it up, but those feel like two places where the Bears, and Matt Nagy, are horrific.
This, combined with the fact that you’re getting an angry Ravens team, leads me to think that the Bears lose a competitive game. I believe this team has an upset win in them at some point the rest of the way, but I don’t think it comes on Sunday.
Ravens 27 – Bears 20
Brendan Sugrue 9-1
By now, you probably know the Bears have been disastrous coming off the bye. It’s been that way for seven years and three different head coaches. But during Nagy’s tenure, it’s been especially brutal. The last three years, the Bears have surrendered an average of 36 points and 453 yards per game after their bye week. Good thing they face the Baltimore Ravens, who just so happen to be the second-best offense in the league in terms of total yards per game with 414.1.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson also has a knack for taking down newcomers. He’s 25-2 when going against a team for the first time and the Bears could be missing a few defensive studs when trying to stop him. Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks have both missed practice each day this week and Eddie Jackson is still working his way back as well. The former MVP will be dangerous going up against a depleted Bears defense and is looking for a bounce back after getting bottled up by the Miami Dolphins.
This game has the makings of a shootout, however. Justin Fields is beginning to stack solid games on top of one another and has had an extra week to prepare for a Ravens defense that is allowing the most passing yards per game in the league with 283.3. We might see yet another strong performance from JF1, but Jackson gets the edge in the battle of exciting young quarterbacks.
Ravens 30 – Bears 28
Zachary Rosenbaum 5-5
The Bears have a seven game losing streak for games right after the bye. They haven’t won a game out of the bye since 2013, back in ye olden days of Marc Trestman and Jay Cutler. This franchise just does a great job at making sure it’s players don’t give a crap about having a good performance. One man who does care about his performance is Justin Fields. Fields actually took time during the bye week to train and practice with former Bears player Brandon Marshall. It speaks volumes that the man who is going to be our future QB is taking every chance he can to improve himself. Hopefully, that will translate to another big performance as he tries to out-duel former MVP Lamar Jackson.
With that being said, I’m not expecting anything other than a big fat L this sunday. The Ravens are coming in angry after losing to the lowly Dolphins in front of a national audience. They’re gonna want to get the ball rolling early in this game as they need to stay at the top of an AFC North division that doesn’t have a whole lot of breathing room. The Bears defense has been awful this season, and I really can’t see a big performance out of them this week. I’m expecting Jackson to make the Bears defense look like fools out on the field.
This season is lost. But the Bears have their man. Definitively. There is no question about Justin Fields’ ability to perform at the NFL level. Justin Fields is the truth. Hopefully he’ll have the ability to adapt to a new coaching system next year when Matt Nagy leaves our city forever and goes to sell houses again, or some other non-football related activity. For any Bears fan I suggest cheering for Fields, because cheering for the rest of these clowns will only bring you heartbreak.
Ravens 27 – Justin Fields 21
Dan Dundas 6-4
Nowhere else in the NFL will you see a team run counter (pulling two linemen) so aggressively and out of so many varied formations and personnel, than the Ravens. Not to sound like a teenager, but like literally, no one else does it. The one outlier that holds it together is Lamar Jackson and his unique running talents, which enables the Ravens to read defenders in the option like a college team.
Jackson has improved as a passer in certain respects, as the Ravens have figured out what concepts work for him, as they consistently rework and reconfigure their offense to stay one step ahead. For all of his youth behind calling the Bears defense, Sean Desai hasn’t seen this Ravens offense up close yet. He may be able to pick his spots, but it more or less may be pick your poison. With Khalil Mack possibly out, and the underwhelming performance of cornerbacks not named Jaylon Johnson, it might be hard to see the Bears holding them under 20.
What we are all here to see is Justin Fields improve upon his tremendous showing against Pittsburgh. Fields seemed to be developing quite the rapport with Kmet, Everyone in the microwave I want it now twitter age needs to chill out on Kmet. Tight Ends have two jobs and are moved around like chess pieces, so give the guy a minute. He’s not going to morph into Rob Gronkowski tomorrow. As well, the two headed monster of Herbert and Monty can create some havoc if the Bears can stay consistent with their game plan and calls. Ahem, Matt Nagy. Your cab to a job as QB Coach somewhere awaits.
Ravens 28 – Bears 17