Monday Night Football reaction – As expected, Rams defense too much for Bears

Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey
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Ricky Dimon

NFL

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports -- just about any and all you can think of! -- and coaching tennis in Atlanta, GA. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

The Chicago Bears are who we thought they were: a 5-1 team that was not as good as their record suggested. There was the Week 1 win over Detroit in which Lions running back D’Andre Swift dropped what should have been an easy game-winning touchdown pass in the endzone. There were also four-point victories over both the Giants and Falcons, two of the four worst teams in our current power rankings.

Unconvinced by Nick Foles and company, we were all over the Los Angeles Rams and the under on Monday Night Football, even teasing the spread up to -9.5 and the total down to 40.5 for our same-game parlay (which was on course to cash until Foles threw for a few too many yards during garbage time).

Needless to say, we still aren’t convinced by the 5-2 Bears following their 24-10 setback at Los Angeles.

Uh oh, Chicago

This could end up being a key result for two teams that are both now 5-2 and may battle the rest of the way for wild-card position in the NFC. Obviously both the Bears and Rams are still in respective division title contention, but Green Bay is clearly superior to Chicago in the NFC North and L.A. has to deal with Seattle, Arizona, and San Francisco in the NFC West—the best division in football.

The good news for the Bears is that their division is weaker, but outside of that factor it may be time to sound the alarm bells. Their offense just isn’t good; it wasn’t with Mitchell Trubisky under center and nothing much has changed with Foles now taking the snaps. Foles has thrown at least one interception in every appearance this season, including two against the Rams. He has delivered more touchdown passes than interceptions only once in 2020, and that was at the expense of the Falcons—who may have the second-worst defense in the NFL, perhaps better than only Dallas. Of course, it is not all Foles’ fault. His offensive line is not great (he was sacked four more times on Monday) and he does not have a ton of reliable weapons at his disposal.

Adding insult to injury, the Bears have Tennessee and New Orleans next on the schedule. They also still have to play Green Bay twice. And they don’t have much breathing room, either, because they are tied for the NFC’s three wild-card spots (with the Rams and Cardinals) and the Saints are just a half-game behind.

How will the West be won?

Is the Rams’ defense that good or the Bears’ offense that bad?

It’s a bit of both. You don’t manage only 279 total yards and 4.6 yards per play without both teams playing a part. Aaron Donald is simply a man among boys, Leonard Floyd looked inspired against his former team, and Jalen Ramsey came up with a win-clinching interception.

Is this Donald-led unit good enough to win the West? It’s not out of the question. The Seahawks and Cardinals are flashier with respective offenses led by Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray, but L.A. and San Francisco are well-rounded clubs that can be dominant at times on defense. There is actually a realistic chance that all four NFC West representatives could make the playoffs.

Right now it looks like the Rams are playoff material. It would be a crime against humanity if a team from the NFC East is in the playoffs (and one has to be, of course) and the Rams are not. But the schedule is absolutely brutal starting in Week 10, which is part of the reason why Monday night’s win was absolutely essential.

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