Chicago Bears Might be for Real
Heading into Week 4 of the regular season, there were two NFC teams that seemed poised to defy their expectations for 2018: the Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both clubs were pegged at 6.5 wins heading into September, although the Bears had a sunnier outlook with the OVER priced at -140, while the Bucs had the UNDER at -165. That didn’t stop either team from winning two of their first three games.
Sadly, there could be only one winner when Chicago hosted Tampa Bay in Week 4. And it looks like we can put the Buccaneers back in the discard bin; they lost 48-10 as 3-point underdogs at Soldier Field. Chicago QB Mitchell Trubisky threw six TD passes, while Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston combined for three picks. Tampa’s defense is so bad, it probably doesn’t matter who they have under center – but if you’re looking for a hot NFL pick at one of the best sport betting sites in the industry, check the rating guide before placing some action on the Bears who just might be your huckleberry.
Shaking the Tree
Granted, the Bears haven’t had a winning season since they fired head coach Lovie Smith after the 2012 campaign. Marc Trestman, Quarterback Whisperer, only lasted two years after some initial promise, and Chicago spent the past three seasons in the NFC North basement under John Fox. The time was ripe for another coaching change in the Windy City.
Enter Matt Nagy. A former quarterback with the Delaware Blue Hens and in the Arena League, Nagy is part of the Andy Reid coaching tree that has borne fruit in recent years. He started coaching in 2008 as one of Reid’s interns with the Philadelphia Eagles, then gradually moved up the ladder – and moved with Reid to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013, eventually landing the offensive coordinator gig in 2016.
Kansas did some amazing things on offense last year. But after a mid-season slump, Reid handed over the play-calling duties to Nagy, and the Chiefs responded by winning four of their last five games to claim the AFC West title. And all the while, Reid and Nagy patiently groomed first-year QB Patrick Mahomes II for success. Now Mahomes is the hottest commodity in football, and the Chiefs are 4-0 SU and ATS heading into their bye week.
Who Does No. 2 Work For?
Which brings us back to Trubisky. The Bears had the No. 3 overall pick at the 2017 NFL Draft, but they sent two third-round picks and a fourth-rounder to the San Francisco 49ers to move up one spot and select Trubisky – a high price to pay for a quarterback who was projected to go somewhere in the middle of the first round.
Fans in Chicago are still trying to warm up to their new leader. After taking the reins from incumbent starter Mike Glennon in Week 5 last year, Trubisky had some growing pains, finishing the year with seven TD throws and seven interceptions. But that was under Fox, who was in the twilight of his career, and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, whom ESPN ranked as the worst play-caller in the NFL last year. Things have changed since then.
Nagy knew a few things about Trubisky before taking the top job in Chicago. The Chiefs brought the young quarterback in for a meeting before the 2017 Draft; Reid, Nagy and the other offensive coaches spent six hours picking Trubisky’s brain, and Nagy liked what he saw. That’s part of the reason he took the Bears gig.
Football is still a team sport, and the Bears have some other issues to clear up. But the Nagy-Trubisky Era is already doing great things in the New NFL, with its willingness to embrace analytics and unconventional plays that used to be seen only in college football – or even high school. Throw in a much-improved defense with the arrival of LB Khalil Mack, and Chicago might even win the NFC North this year. Somebody get Bill Swerski on the phone.