Chicago (3-5) at Pittsburgh (4-3)
When: Monday, November 8th 2021
Where: Heinz Field,
Time: 8:15 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Pittsburgh -5/40.5
Two of the most storied and popular franchises in the league square-off this week on Monday Night Football as the Chicago Bears visit the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. These two teams are trending in opposite directions right now with Pittsburgh making a move up the standings by winning each of their last three thanks to an improving defense. After shocking the Buffalo Bills in Week 1, the Steelers went into a tailspin, losing three straight and allowing at least 24 points in each contest. During their current winning streak, the defense has allowed an average of just 16.3 per game. Pittsburgh is coming off a hard-fought 15-10 road win at rival Cleveland and are now just a game behind Baltimore in the AFC North.
The Bears started the season by winning three of their first five, but have since lost three in a row after a 33-22 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers last week. During the skid, the Bears are allowing 31.6 points a game and have failed to cover the spread in all three. Bears coach Matt Nagy is set to return to the sidelines Monday night following a one-game absence in the NFL’s COVID-19 protocol. The Bears could also have David Montgomery back after missing time from a knee injury sustained in Week 4. Montgomery is averaging 4.5 yards per carry this season, rushing for 309 yards and three touchdowns before his injury. Chicago leads the all-time series 19-7-1 and won the most recent meeting 23-17 in overtime back in 2017.
Despite the loss last week, Chicago scored its most points since Week 4 and rookie quarterback Justin Fields had himself a day with 175 yards passing and another 103 on the ground. Fields is showing some slow progress but still has seven interceptions on the season to only three touchdowns and Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin is 24-4 against rookie quarterbacks. Montgomery’s replacement, Khalil Herbert (351 yards on 81 carries, 4.3 ypc), has been a nice find with at least 72 yards rushing in four consecutive games. The Bears, who are averaging 15.4 points per game, are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games as an underdog. Star pass-rusher Khalil Mack missed Week 8 with an injury and has been ruled out for Monday, while safety Eddie Jackson (hamstring) is doubtful.
Pittsburgh won its third in a row Sunday despite not having a kicker to use for a field goal or even extra point in the second half. Kicker Chris Boswell was blown up on a trick play and left with a concussion and is probable for Monday. Boswell has been the NFL’s most accurate kicker since 2019, making 94 percent of his attempts. Tight end Eric Ebron missed the game with a hamstring injury and won’t play versus Chicago. Pittsburgh ranks 28th in the league in passing, 29th in scoring and 30th in rushing. On defense, the Steelers are fifth overall in red-zone touchdown rate, second in opponents rushing touchdowns per game, and seventh in scoring defense with just 20.3 points allowed per contest. Pittsburgh has covered four of their last five November games.
The Steelers defense will be the difference in this game. They are getting better every week and the Bears offense is still struggling under Fields. Tomlin eats rookie QBs alive. I’ll lay the points.
Pick: Steelers -6.5
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