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Patriots vs. Bears

Betting Line: Patriots -3 o/u 41

By

John J. Raspanti




The Patriots (10-2) terminated the New York Jets last Monday night 45-3. Many football experts are now calling the Pats the best team in the NFL. Last month they romped all over the Pittsburgh Steelers and have now won four games in a row. Quarterback Tom Brady's season is amazing; he's completed 66 percent of his passes and thrown 27 touchdowns. Brady has MVP written all over his blue jersey. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis has rushed for 699 yards and scored a whopping 11 touchdowns. Clever wide receiver Wes Welker has grabbed 72 balls and scored seven touchdowns. Aaron Hernandez has 39 catches, while veteran Deion Branch continues to contribute with 36 passes caught.

The Patriots defense played their best game of the season against the Jets holding the New Yorkers to a total of 301 yards and only three points. They intercepted Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez three times. Inside linebacker Jerod Mayo continues to have an incredible year leading the team in tackles and assists. Defensive end Tully Branch-Cain has four and a half sacks against opposing quarterbacks.

The streaking Chicago Bears (9-3) barely got by the last place Lions 24-20 last week. The victory was the teams fifth in a row, though nobody seemed very impressed. Chicago has been flying under the radar most of the season. Two weeks ago they stomped on Michael Vick and the Eagles 31-26. Quarterback Jay Cutler has played superbly during the winning streak. Cutler has completed 63 percent of his passes and thrown for 17 touchdowns. He's also utilizing his feet by scampering for 201 yards.

The Bears leaky offensive line is still a concern as Cutler was sacked four times. Running back Matt Forte is quietly having a very good season. The third year pro has rushed for 748 yards and scored five times. Wide receiver Johnny Knox averages 18 yards a catch. Cutler's college teammate Earl Bennett has made a big impact in the last few weeks. Bennett has grabbed 39 passes, while tight end Greg Olsen has 30. Devin Hester is back returning punts and kickoffs. Hester looks as explosive as he did in the Bears Super Bowl run. 

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Defensively, Bears veteran linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are having superb season. Urlacher has collected 94 tackles, forced 3 fumbles and sacked the quarterback 3 times. 91 million dollar man Julius Peppers is having a fine season.

This could be the most exciting game of the week. The Bears offense is rolling, if they can protect Jay Cutler, he should be able to carve the Patriots secondary up. Tom Brady and his teammates should have some success against the Bears defense. The Patriots have the more explosive offense while the Bears have the better defense. The Bears (Julius Peppers) have to put big time pressure on Tom Brady if they hope to win.

The Bears will certainly know how they measure up after Sunday. It's difficult to make a case for the Bears here, getting only +3. A look at their schedule shows show close wins over some poor teams. Not to mention losses to the Seahawks and Redskins. They do own a couple fo quality wins though, including a win over the Packers early in the year and a win over the Eagles a couple of weeks ago.

But the Patriots are doing more then just winning. They are winning by large margins. They are as close to a dominant team as the NFL has. Sure they could have a letdown after such an emotional game Monday, or they could throw in a dud performance like they did in Cleveland a couple of weeks ago, but barring those circumstances, the Patriots are the better team here and should get the win. Getting the win likely gets a cover, so that's the way we are going here. We hate to go with the obvious. The whole world will be on the Pats here. But we aren't sold on the Bears......yet. Patriots -3

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