Bears and Rams Game Day Glance: TV, Radio, Odds and Matchups

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Chicago Bears (5-1) at Los Angeles Rams (4-2)

Kickoff: Monday, 7:15 p.m., central time, Sofi Stadium

Telecast, Broadcast Information

TV: ESPN, ABC locally (Steve Levy, Louis Riddick, Brian Griese, Lisa Salters)

Radio: WBBM AM-780, 105.9 FM (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Mark Grote)

Univision Deportes: AM-1200, 93.5 FM

Westwood One, Sirius/XM 88 (Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner, Jim Gray)

Streaming: ESPN is available live on the five leading streaming services and the game is available on WatchESPN.com but not via cell phone.

Gambling

The Line: Rams by 6 (over/under 45 1/2)

Matchup Information

History: 95th meeting. The Bears lead the series 54-37-3. The Rams won last year in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 17-7. The Bears won in 2018 at Soldier Field 15-6. The last Bears road win over the Rams came in St. Louis at the Edward Jones Dome in 2015, 37-13 when Nick Foles was Rams quarterback.

The Coaches: Bears coach Matt Nagy is 25-13 in his third season. Rams coach Sean McVay is 37-17 in his fourth season. The two are 1-1 facing each other.

The Quarterbacks: Nick Foles is 2-0 against the Rams as a starter and finished one other win in Philadelphia due to an injury in the game to Carson Wentz. ... Rams quarterback Jared Goff has seven TD passes, two interceptions and a 94.5 passer rating in three career Monday Night Football starts. He is 1-1 against the Bears as a starter.

Last Week: The Bears led all game in a tight battle at Carolina but pulled away in the fourth quarter 23-16 behind a defense that produced interceptions by Tashaun Gipson and DeAndre Houston-Carson and a fumble recovery from Akiem Hicks, as well as four sacks. The Rams lost 24-16 at San Francisco as the 49ers' fifth-ranked defense dominated the Rams through the first half and Jimmy Garoppolo threw for three touchdowns without an interception.

Final Injury Report

Bears

Out

  • DB Sherrick McManis (hamstring)

Questionable

  • OLB Khalil Mack (back)
  • S Deon Bush (hamstring)
  • G Rashaad Coward (finger)
  • CB Bustker Skrine (ankle)
  • OL Jason Spriggs (back, hip)  

Rams

Questionable

  • TE Tyler Higbee (hand)

Matching Up

The Bears are 28th on offense, 23rd passing and 28th rushing. They are seventh on defense, 10th against the pass and 14th against the run. The Rams are 10th on offense, 15th passing and 10th rushing. L.A. is fourth on defense, fourth against the pass and 11th against the run.

Key Individual Battles

Bears LG Rashaad Coward vs. Rams DT Aaron Donald

For Coward to stand up to an average NFL defensive tackle would be a big ask because he's starting with his other hand down in the dirt for only the second time in his career but to do it against the game's greatest defensive tackle is asking for a miracle. Donald wins with his quickness and burst. He's 6-foot-1, 280 pounds. The way Coward has to do this is by getting his 6-5, 326-pound body on Donald as quickly as possible. And he will have to have help from center Cody Whitehair, great communication with tackle Charles Leno, good support blocking in the passing game from running back David Montgomery or tight ends Demetrius Harris and Cole Kmet. And prayer.

Bears CB Buster Skrine vs. Rams WR Cooper Kupp

Skrine had a solid year last year even if sites like Pro Football Focus debate that, and he's been more physical this year. But two receivers in particular got the best of him last year.  One was Davante Adams, when the Packers moved him down into the slot. The other was Kupp. Skrine yielded only three catches to Kupp but each one of them was huge in the 17-7 Rams win. Kupp has deceiving quickness, great hands and a good reach that makes him a tough matchup for the 5-foot-9 slot cornerback.

Bears LB Roquan Smith vs. Rams RB Darrell Henderson

Although Henderson has taken on a more prominent role in the offense and is more of a big-play threat than Malcolm Brown or when Todd Gurley and his injured knee was around, this is a spot where the Bears can force the Rams into passing situations by shutting down the run if Smith steps up and plays the way he did last week against Carolina. Smith stayed in his gap and was able to utilize his speed even to make plays in the backfield. He corrected the problem with broken tackles he had in the previous game. Henderson's combination of speed and power are problems and he has moves like Smith struggled with against Ron Jones, but the lack of experience and other problems the Rams must deal with against the Bears defensive front afford Smith another opportunity to make his presence felt.

Bears DT Akiem Hicks vs. Rams RG Austin Corbett

The Bears probably missed Hicks due to injury last year against the Rams more than any other time in what essentially were 12 games without him. This is because Hicks has the chance to change the game more against the Rams and quarterback Jared Goff. Hicks had a sack in the Bears win in 2018 at Soldier Field and his constant presence on the inside rush had Goff in panic mode all game, and when he didn't panic, he had Khalil Mack coming off the side or from behind. The problem the Bears have is Hicks has been sick this week and hasn't been able to practice. How quickly he comes off this illness can make a big difference. Goff doesn't stand up to pressure from the front well, and the Bears didn't have that interior rush last year against the Rams. Corbett was a free agent acquisition from Cleveland who is a steady run blocker but has struggled as a pass blocker. He has allowed a sack and Pro Football Focus puts his pass-blocking grade at a sub-par 53.0. There aren't many weak spots on the Rams offensive line but Corbett's pass blocking has been one of those.

Bears TE Jimmy Graham vs. Rams LB Kenny Young

Young has had the few people in Los Angeles who care about football and defense grumbling since early in the season with his inability to handle assignments. He's allowing 85.7% completions on passes when targeted. They try to get into nickel coverage quickly and get him out, and he's been in on 55% of the snaps. Graham has obviously not been the threat he was when younger but he does get open in short patterns and has had dependable hands. Nick Foles hasn't neessarily thrown much in the short range over the middle and it's here where his best chances could rest with the Rams' biggest coverage problems coming wherever cornerback Jalen Ramsey is not positioned. The Rams got hit for big yardage and catches by Greg Kittle last week in a loss and when the Giants hung tough against them tight end Evan Engram had six catches to lead his team. This is a chance for Graham to make an impact outside the red zone -- or even for tight end Cole Kmet to make a mark after getting his first touchdown last week. The best option in the short routes would be David Montgomery but the Bears likely will need him in the backfield blocking as much as possible to handle the imposing presence of Aaron Donald should be beat his initial block.

Bears WR Anthony Miller vs. Rams CB Troy Hill

The Rams start Miller outside but he'll move into the slot and Darius Williams comes on in the nickel coverage on the outside. In all of this mix is Jalen Ramsey, who normally covers whoever the other team's best receiver is and in this case it's Allen Robinson. The Bears will try to pick for Robinson as much as possible but they need to be ready to go after Hill because he's been the weaker link in a good Rams secondary. He's allowing a 78.4% completion rate when targeted and a 96.2 passer rating when targeted, according to Sportradar. Hill's biggest problem might be missing tackles. As a convert to the slot, this could be expected because it's a difficult position to master and even the better ones miss tackles there with so much ground to cover. He's missed 17.1% of his tackle attempts this season. Anthony Miller is coming off a stretch of disappointing games since Nick Foles became starter at quarterback. He's had only 10 receptions for 52 yards in the last three games. Miller's season hasn't been terrible from a standpoint of consistency. He is catching 61.5% of targets, which is right in line with the last two years. He was at 61.1% as a rookie and 61.2% last year. It's just getting open and doing it with enough room to run after the catch which he hasn't done. Ramsey likely will focus greatly on stopping Allen Robinson all over the field so Miller needs to win his matchup.

Of Note: The Bears with a win will become the first NFC team to six victories. ... Khalil Mack has four sacks and three forced fumbles in four Monday Night Football games. ... Akiem Hicks has four sacks and a fumble recovery in his last four Monday Night Football games. ... Cornerback Jaylon Johnson's nine passes defensed leads all rookies. ... Wide receiver Darnell Mooney is third among all rookie wide receivers in receiving yards (196). Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has 3 1/2 sacks against the Bears in three games and eight sacks in his last eight home games. ... The Rams are the fourth-least penalized team with 24 penalties for the third lowest total yards (187).

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven