O Canada! This is the third straight season the Bills are playing one regular-season home game in Toronto. They’ve yet to win one, losing to Miami in 2008 and the Jets last year. The Bears are coming off of a bye week, a much needed bye at that, the Bears have been very inconsistent this year on the offensive side of things and were in need of resting a few of their key starters. The (0-7) Buffalo Bills will skip over to Toronto, Ontario and the Rogers Centre to host the (4-3) Chicago Bills, kickoff slated for 1 PM EST.
The Chicago Bears make their first trip to Toronto since an August 15th, 1960 preseason game against the New York Giants. Well, it’s probably safe to say after the Bears last two home games, we very well may be talking about the worst 4-3 team in the history of the NFL. That said, the only stats that matter in the NFL are wins and losses and if the Bears win this week, they will move to 5-3 at the halfway point, on pace for a 10-6 finish and a playoff berth. The Chicago defense is, well, the Chicago defense. The Bears have the sixth ranked defense in the league holding teams to a total of 306 yards per game. The weakest part of the Chicago defense is their pass defense. The young and inexperience secondary in Chicago makes a lot of mistakes. If the front seven is unable to establish a pass rush early in the game, then the opposing offense can start to spread the field out which makes for a long game. Looking at the Bears second half schedule, a 10-6 final record seems about as likely as Jay Cutler not throwing another interception for the rest of the year. Not to mention the fact that the Bills are coming off back to back OT road losses in games they should have won. Considering the Bills were one play away from winning at Baltimore and a missed FG away from winning at KC (two first place teams), it’s surprising that the Bears are favored by 3 points in this neutral site affair taking place in Toronto. You can’t say enough about how good the Bears defense has been this year. It’s the third best defense in the NFL in terms of points allowed, (the only stat that matters) trailing only the Steelers and the Jets. What makes this even more impressive is the fact that they are constantly on the field as a result of their 27th ranked offense.
The Bills are the only winless team in the NFL. However, they have taken their previous two opponents into overtime only to lose. Offensively they are 26th, but QB Ryan Fitzpatrick & receivers Steve Johnson and Lee Evanshave looked good the past few weeks. The Bills offense is a slow starter. The first half of any game this season has not been favorable to the Bills running backs or receivers. It was especially evident in the week eight loss to the Chiefs that the Bills have a problem getting their offense cranked up. They allowed Kansas City last week 414 yards but just 4 of 15 on third down. The Bills struggled stopping the Kansas City run by surrendering 274 rushing yards on 45 carries for over a 6 yards per rush average against their defense. On a positive the team held the Chiefs to just 1 of 4 conversions in the red zone.Once Fitzpatrick and the offense get the ball moving, they seem to be pretty adept at scoring. But that slow start may be something that the Bears defense can exploit. The Bills are last in the NFL against the run at 188.7 yards, and have allowed four of their last five opponents to reach the 200-yard mark – including a season-worst 274 in last Sunday’s 13-10 overtime loss to AFC West-leading Kansas City. Despite another disappointing showing from the run defense, Buffalo allowed a season low in points after giving up at least 34 in each of its previous five games. It still wasn’t enough, however, as the Bills became the 12th NFL team to lose in OT on consecutive weekends following a 37-34 defeat to AFC North-leading Baltimore on Oct. 24.
Bears vs Bills Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Chicago Bears -3
@ Buffalo Bills +3
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Bears vs Bills Betting Predictions for Week 9:
Spread Prediction (TOP PLAY) – Chicago committed five turnovers and lost 17-14 at home against Washington. The Bears were the favorite and failed to cover the -3 point spread. The final score at 31 points keep the game total UNDER. Buffalo has lost two straight overtime games. The latest was a 13-10 setback on the road to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. The Bills covered as +7 point underdogs and the 23 points kept the game total UNDER. The Bears have had a week off to work on their offensive kinks but I believe they will have most of them solved come Sunday in Toronto. In their last meeting on 10/08/2006 the Bears defeated the Bills 40-7 as -9.5 favorites the 34.5 game total went OVER. The Bills have not played particularly well north of the border and I see much of the same this Sunday. Buffalo is 3-4 S/U and 3-4 ATS in their last seven games versus Chicago (all venues). We will consider laying the points with the Bears in this North of the border battle.
Game Total Prediction – With Mike Martz running an offense you know that points will be scored, and scored at maximum potential. The total has gone OVER in 4 of Buffalo’s last 5 games. The Bills defense is terrible, but they are also extremely inconsistent. Because the Bills have a decent secondary, they have the sixth ranked pass defense in the league. Most of the pressure on the opposing quarterback comes from the coverage of the secondary. But the Bills are dead last against the run, and that may be something the Bears try to use early. I see QB Jay Cutler having a monster day against the weak Bills defense and this Bears offense should get sufficient time to work out some of their kinks. I believe 41 points is just too low of a total for these two offenses not to reach. I recommend taking a look at the OVER as the turf at the Rogers Centre should make for quite the track meet. Cheers!