NFL (10-star or 10-unit)
(241) Chicago +2.5 (Biggest NFL HOF Game of Career)
The Bears finished the last 4 seasons with double digit losses and dead last in their division. They finally let John Fox go and we can only say “WTF took you so long”! Seriously, it was a painful 4 years for a team filled rich with history and one of the most loyal fan bases in the league. Why on earth were they tortured for all this time? That changes tonight! Enter new coach Matt Nagy, the former Kansas City offensive coordinator, a man that brings high energy and a high octane offense to a team that couldn’t score on a high school team during the past 4 years. Nagy wasted no time in beefing up his unit with some real talent, using the Free Agency market to fill the wideout and tight end positions, giving second year QB, Trubisky, some legitimate playmakers to throw to, something he lacked in his 12 starts last season. One area Nagy shouldn’t have to worry much about is their defense who, despite their losing record last season, ranked in the top 10 of many major statistical categories. The team still made some nice moves, however, making them even better. It’s scary to think how good this unit could be with an offense that can actually get a first down when it needs to or scored a TD when it actually means something–this is what Nagy and his new look offense WILL give them, and look out when that chemistry hits its stride. Trubisky IS a big lead QB and Chicago WILL be dangerous and a serious contender again one day in the not-too-distant-future and we will catch glimpses of this tonight!
Meanwhile, the Ravens come in as with virtually the same unit as a season ago. Although it appears Coach Harbaugh and Flacco are on the “hot seat” the team did little in the offseason to make us believe they are actually committed to the duo beyond this season or will be a serious contender. Despite the Ravens Preseason success under Harbaugh injuries have haunted them in recent years so it’s to hard to imagine them risking injury to key players this preseason. Offensively the Ravens will remain a plain vanilla unit with few big playmakers. Defensively, this unit last season was far from the dominating unit it once was, looking like swiss cheese at times, and we see nothing to make us this it will get better this season.
We look for 34 key factor in handicapping Preseason – Depth, QB Rotations, and Motivation and the Bears have the advantages in all 3. The Bears have tremendous speed and depth at almost every position. They have a major QB advantage with Chase Daniel behind Trubisky. Daniel spent the last 3 seasons with Coach Nagy at Kansas City. The chemistry already exists between Nagy and Daniel and this might be the biggest advantage of the game for either side. Some will look at RG3 behind Flacco and think we are wrong but those people are still stuck in the past and remembering RG3 in his rookie season. As for motivation we will gladly take a new high energy coach with a team a talented team that is tired of losing any day over an aging veteran team that has been content with mediocracy the past 5 years. Adding fuel to the Bears fire will be the induction of former defensive star Brian Urlacher, one of the most respected Bears in their history. And it helps knowing we have a 28-0 ATS preseason trend going against certain teams, …team with 9 or more wins the previous season, if facing a team… who had 6 or less wins the previous season. It’s preseason friends and we all know anything can happen but we can’t remember the last time the stars lined up this way in the Hall of Fame Game and tonight we fully expect to kick things off with another huge win!
FINAL: BALTIMORE 17 CHICAGO 16
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