The Arizona Cardinals (9-2) take the NFL’s best record into Chicago to take on the Bears (4-7), who have half of their wins against the winless Lions this season. Chicago took advantage of a Kyler Murray injury last year to leap past the Cardinals to make the playoffs, but Murray is expected to return in this game.
The Cardinals (8-3 ATS) are a 7-point favorite over the Bears (4-7 ATS) at many of BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks. Arizona convincingly won two of three games without Murray and DeAndre Hopkins, but this team is poised to be the new favorites in the NFC this year with their stars back.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Chicago Bears
Sunday, December 05, 2021 – 01:00 PM EST at Soldier Field
Kyler for MVP?
It would be hard for a quarterback who missed three games to win MVP, especially when that team went 2-1 in his absence. But no one is consistently playing at a high level this year. Kyler Murray went into Week 12 still leading the NFL in completion percentage (72.7%), yards per attempt (8.9), and passer rating (110.4).
His only down game was the last we saw of him against the Packers. The Bears have not been a good pass defense this season, surrendering 18 touchdowns to five picks with a 101.3 passer rating. Arizona has schemed well this year and James Conner provides a solid rushing threat to Murray and Hopkins in the passing game.
The Cardinals dinked and dunked with Colt McCoy in the lineup. They should be able to feature more of a deep passing game again with Murray’s return. Arizona has scored at least 31 points in seven of 11 games this year. A total like that again in this one should prove too difficult for the Bears to cover the spread.
Bears: Justin Fields’ Ribs
While the Bears got a solid 300-yard passing game out of Andy Dalton on Thanksgiving, it only led to 16 points for the offense against one of the worst defenses in the league. Justin Fields is expected to return to the starting lineup after his rib injury kept him out of the early Thursday start. Had the Bears played last Sunday, Fields reportedly would have been a game-time decision, so his injury is not considered severe.
Either way, the Bears face a tough matchup with their limited offense against a stingy Arizona defense that has only allowed two teams to score more than 24 points. The Bears have only scored more than 24 once all season and that was in Pittsburgh, Fields’ best day as a passer. But even after a bye week, the Bears looked inept at getting Fields ready to play the Ravens before he left the game injured. The offense has hit more big pass plays with Dalton in the lineup as he seems to have the better connection with deep threat Darnell Mooney.
Allen Robinson has not played since Week 9 because of a hamstring injury, which can tend to linger for weeks. The Bears need him back or else it’s hard to see this offense breaking 20 points in this matchup. The Cardinals do not get many interceptions, but they have the second-most fumble recoveries this season. They can really rush the passer with Markus Golden (10.0 sacks) and Chandler Jones (8.0 sacks). Only the Bills (5.7) allow fewer yards per pass attempt than the Cardinals (6.5) this season.
There have been some huge spreads in the NFL this season and it is surprising not to see this number go higher. The Cardinals are a good weather team coming to Arizona, but they play a brand of football that should travel well anywhere. They are also simply just a much better team than the Bears right now. I would trust the Cardinals to cover the spread in this one for your NFL picks.
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