The opening Sunday Night Football of the NFL 2021 season sees the Los Angeles Rams playing host to the Chicago Bears in a good way to get the primetime campaign underway. This match comes from SoFi Stadium where both sides will hope to finish their season in February.
The Rams are being touted as genuine Super Bowl contenders whereas the Bears aren’t really being spoken about in that sort of company so they have a chance to make a bit of a name for themselves here by touching off a title challenger.
Los Angeles Rams
I am one of those judges who fancy the Los Angeles Rams this season. They were my pick for the Super Bowl ahead of the season and I expect to see a good performance from them here. There are no excuses for Los Angeles for not at least reaching the Super Bowl this term. They have addressed their shortcomings of recent seasons and now the only thing they have to deal with in terms of a weakness is expectation, but expectancy only comes with good reason.
The biggest thing they have done in the close season was bring Matthew Stafford across from Detroit. He will make his Rams debut here and he does so against familiar foes having been in the same division as the Chicago Bears while playing as a Lion. He has some tremendous receiving options at his disposal and there should be less pressure on him to deliver over the earth because of this elite Rams defence.
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I guess the good thing for the Chicago Bears in this match is they have nothing to lose in it. They are expected to get beat, their roster is one that is in transition and not many expect them to be competitive. This is primetime football though so it shouldn’t be a surprise if they raise their game and if they can hang around into the second half and be within a score they might be able to extract some tension and who knows where the match goes from there.
The one thing which might hold them back is Andy Dalton starting at quarterback. He is becoming a fading force in the game. His record in Cincinnati was respectable in the regular season but not when it mattered but he looked average in possession of the Dallas offense last term, a much better offense than he has at his disposal here. Everyone knows it is a matter of time until Justin Fields takes over as the starter and you sense this is all just dead ground until that switch happens.
It is hard to see anything but a comfortable win for the Los Angeles Rams here. If they are going to be the real deal this season then they should be winning matches like this and winning them well. I get that Justin Fields is inexperienced and is a rookie and the Chicago Bears want to keep him away from defences like this so early in his career but you get the feeling that the Bears aren’t really going to go anywhere as a team until the youngster is let free to go.
This Rams defence is up there with anything else in the league though and if Matt Stafford has the expected and desired effect on the Los Angeles offense then this could turn into a bit of a blowout. Chicago will try and keep the ball for long periods to eat up the clock but I just don’t see them being able to do it. What is worse for the Bears is the opposing quarterback knows exactly how their defence works having been in the same division as them previously. It all adds up to the Rams covering 7.5pts.
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