Arizona Cardinals (9-2) at Chicago Bears (4-7)
Kickoff: Noon, Sunday, Soldier Field, Chicago.
TV: Fox (Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Shannon Spake).
TV Streaming: Fox on fuboTV, free trial.
Radio: WBBM AM-780, FM-105.9 (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Mark Grote).
National Radio: SportsUSA (Josh Appel, Mark Carrier).
Spanish Radio: TUDN AM-1200, Latino Mix FM-93.5 (Omar Ramos, Miguel Esparza)
The line: Cardinals by 7 1/2 (over/under 42 1/2). Betting information at SI.com
BearDigest.com Pick: Cardinals 27, Bears 16.
BearDigest Record to Date: 10-1 straight up, 8-3 vs. the spread.
The Series: 94th meeting, Bears lead the series 59-28-6. The Bears won the last matchup in Arizona 16-14 in 2018 and have won five of the last seven. The road team has won five straight in this series and no team has won consecutive games in the series since the Bears won three straight in 2001, 2003 and 2006.
The Coaches: Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury is 22-20-1 in his third season and has not had a playoff appearance.
Bears coach Matt Nagy is 32-27 in his fourth season including 0-2 in the playoffs. Nagy is 1-0 against the Cardinals but has not coached against Kingsbury.
Last Week: The Cardinals had a bye week. The Cardinals are 6-0 on the road this season. They won the last game they played, on the road at Seattle 23-13 as Colt McCoy threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns on Nov. 21.
The Bears beat Detroit 16-14 on Thanksgiving Day at Ford Field as Cairo Santos booted a 28-yard field goal to end the game. Andy Dalton had a Bears season-high 317 yards passing, including a 17-yard TD pass to Jimmy Graham.
Injuries: Cardinals S James Wiggins (knee) is out. QB Kyler Murray (ankle), WR DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring), OL Justin Pugh (calf) and CB Byron Murphy (foot) are questionable.
Bears DE Akiem Hicks (ankle), WR Marquise Goodwin (foot, ribs), RB Damien Williams (calf) are out. Wide receiver Allen Robinson (hamstring) and QB Justin Fiels (ribs) are doubtful. LB Roquan Smith (hamstring) is questionable.
What to watch: Will the Soldier Field fans chant "Fire Nagy" as they've been doing all around the state of Illinois. This had barely begin at the last Bears home game and the chant was a faint one. Now it's a trend. ... How the Bears can compensate with so many key players out. Their secondary is already different with Xavier Crawford and Artie Best at slot cornerback and left cornerback. Smith might not play and they were already without Khalil Mack for the season. It's the same on offense with Rodney Adams elevated from the practice squad to help with Robinson and Goodwin injured. ... Can Dalton stand up to a blitzing, disguised Cardinals pass rush? ... Arizona hasn't had Murray on the field since Oct. 28 and the same for Hopkins. If they play, how rusty are they?
Matching Up: The Cardinals are 10th on offense, ninth at passing and 10th rushing. They are fifth on defense, fourth against the pass and 17th in rushing.
The Bears are 30th on offense, 32nd (last) in passing and eighth at rushing. They are 10th on defense, eighth against the pass and 22nd against the run.
Of Note: The last time the Bears were visitors at Soldier Field in the regular season was in 1959 against the Chicago Cardinals. The Bears won 31-7. The Cardinals moved to St. Louis in 1960. ... The Cardinals lead the NFL in forcing fumbles with 20. Arizona is plus-8 in turnover ratio and the Bears minus-4. ... Cardinals edge rusher Chandler Jones has eight sacks but five came in one game against Tennessee in the opener. ... TE Zach Ertz is coming off his best Arizona game, with eight catches for 88 yards and two TDs against Seattle. ... All six Arizona road wins came by 10 points or more. ... James Conner has run for TDs in five straight games, a franchise record. ... Rondale Moore set a Cardinals rookie record with 11 catches in the win over Seattle. ... Although the Bears are second in sacks with 32, they have allowed the most sacks in the league at 37.
Key Individual Matchups
Bears CB Artie Burns vs. Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins
Hopkins suffered a hamstring injury Oct. 28 against the Green Bay Packers and with all that time off and an extra week for a bye leading up to this game, it's possible he'll be able to go against the Bears. Possessing possibly the game's best set of hands, Hopkins already has as many TD receptions as he has had since 2018, and he has missed three games. His catch percentage (71.4%) is just off his career best (71.9%) set last year. And he's lining up over the side where with Burns, a reserve who didn't play last year with a torn ACL after he had lost his starting job with the Pittsburgh Steelers and then later was discarded. Burns' playing time against Detroit was his first in the Bears defense and first other than preseason in a game since 2019. The Bears could choose to move Jaylon Johnson on Hopkins all over the field, but the advantage of this might be negated by the fact the Cardinals have A.J. Green, Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore available as targets, so it becomes pick your poison.
Bears CB Xavier Crawford vs. Cardinals WR Christian Kirk
The Cardinals slot receiver, Kirk, leads their team in receptions with 49 for 628 yards and has an outstanding catch percentage of 80.3. Basically, the Cardinals are playing pitch and catch when either Murray or backup Colt McCoy have thrown to Kirk because they have a 117.8 passer rating when targeting him. He is not catching 5-yard passes either, as his 12.8-yard average is very healthy for a slot receiver. Crawford is a former Bears practice squad player who is starting because of a hamstring injury to slot cornerback Duke Shelley. Against Detroit, Crawford saw significant defensive playing time for the first and only time this year other than the loss to Green Bay. For 82 plays on defense this season Crawford has allowed 83.3% completions and a 100 passer rating, although he has avoided giving up a touchdown.
Bears S Tashaun Gipson vs. Cardinals TE Zach Ertz
With so many targets possible, it's difficult to see how the Bears could avoid using a linebacker to cover Ertz but they will have a hard time doing it. In cases where they could use someone else, it likely would be Tashaun Gipson. The former Eagles tight end has been a pain to the Bears in his career with an average of 6.7 receptions and 77.7 yards against them in three games with Philadelphia. The Cardinals just figured out how to use Ertz within their offense. The Bears may be forced into playing with one linebacker much of the game since Roquan Smith is injured (hamstring) and Danny Trevathan (knee) is on IR. Alec Ogletree's strength is pass coverage but expect the Bears to get the other linebacker off the field as much as possible and to put DeAndre Houston-Carson on the field for extra coverage against a strong passing attack. Gipson would then get matched up on Ertz. The Bears would want to avoid covering Ertz with Christian Jones, their fourth inside linebacker, as he's more of an upfield attacker and pass rusher than coverage linebacker. He has had to defend 14 passes the last two seasons with the Bears and Detroit and allowed 13 completions. They could use linebacker Caleb Johnson instead of Jones in that case but he's an undrafted rookie and this would be a real gamble.
Bears RT Larry Borom vs. Cardinals OLB Markus Golden
Golden is having a fabulous season with 10 sacks as the opposite-side complement to Chandler Jones after returning to his original team following a stint with the Giants. Golden is at his best coming from very wide to the outside and forcing the tackle to adjust to his quickness. Borom has been a surprise as a pass blocker and has allowed just one sack on 276 plays, with two penalties. Pro Football Focus gives the rookie a respectable 64.7 pass-blocking grade. Whether Borom can display the footwork necessary to get out on Golden in obvious passing situations is going to be one of the keys for the Bears offense, especially with a less mobile quarterback playing like Andy Dalton.
Bears OLB Trevis Gipson vs. Cardinals RT Kelvin Beachum
Gipson, normally the backup to Khalil Mack, might rate a big edge, and it really isn't because he's facing a weak link. Beachum is an average to slightly below average right tackle with a Pro Football Focus rating 55th among all tackles at a grade of 63.1. Gipson might be the best kept secret of the Bears defense. After a game last week when he knocked a ball loose, he is pulling down the 11th best pass rushing grade of all edge rushers in the league, and 22nd best grade of all edges overall. Gipson has been on the field now for 314 plays, so it's no mathematical fluke that he grades this high. He has three sacks, four quarterback hits, nine pressures and 24 tackles. At 6-foot-4, 263 pounds he benefits in this one by not facing a behemoth mauler type at right tackle as the 32-year-old Beachum is 6-3, 308.
Bears WR Darnell Mooney vs. Cardinals CB Byron Murphy Jr.
Some of the numbers suggest Murphy is a difficult matchup for most receivers, like his 76.3 passer rating against or 57.4 completion percentage when targeted. However, he is questionable with an injury and there is another stat playing heavily into Mooney's matchup with the third-year cornerback and that is the Cardinals give up 14.86 yards a completion on completions to his side deep, which is a whopping 5.05 yards longer than any other area of the Cardinals pass defense and 29th in the league. This is a place the Bears can go if they get the time to throw deep. Mooney has two straight 100-yard games and three on the season. It's possible Allen Robinson will return this week from a hamstring injury suffered against Pittsburgh Nov. 8. It would open up the field for Mooney if the defense is focusing more on Robinson.
Bears LG Cody Whitehair vs. Cardinals DT Corey Peters
Peters comes in ranked 89th by PFF out of 123 interior defensive linemen. The 6-foot-3, 335-pounder has the size to dominate inside but is not having his best season. The Cardinals rank 31st in the NFL at stopping runs up the middle, according to NFLGSIS location statistics. They yield 5.1 yards per rushing attempt up the middle. Whitehair ranks 28th out of PFF's 81 guards graded and has gradually worked his way back up after a slow start. The problem the Bears have had isn't necessarily on their linemen individually but the scheme. They don't usually run the ball well when they have a pocket passer who is no threat to run the ball on the zone read play. It's been this way for over two years and especially was apparent last year during a six-game losing streak. This year the problem hasn't been as evident because Andy Dalton has only started and then completed two games. The Bears have much to prove but there is opportunity for them with David Montgomery running in the middle of the line.