We’re considering two 1 pm games in the eleventh week of the 2015 NFL season. The Denver Broncos visit the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field and the Washington Redskins travel to Carolina to play the Panthers. Here’s our take on these two contests.
Denver at Chicago
The Broncos have a decent record at 7-2 but as of late they have played poorly. Their usually reliable defense has been porous. In their first seven games, the Denver defense allowed an average of 17 PPG, but in their last two they have given up an average of 28 PPG. Last week they lost to Kansas City 29-13 and the week prior Denver lost 27-24 to the Colts.
The 4 and 5 Chicago Bears have been on a roll, winning their last two. Last week, they beat St. Louis 33-13 and the week before they defeated San Diego 22-19. They are looking very good on defense and offense.
Last week, Denver QB Peyton Manning may have broken Brett Farve’s record for passing yards, but he had a horrendous game, tossing pick after pick. Manning is out due to injury, which means Brock Osweiler will start at QB. Osweiler will run an offense that has key players missing.
The Bear defense has picked it up lately and has been getting the job done. The Denver offensive line is weak, and they should be able to put pressure on Osweiler. Along with that, QB Jay Cutler has been solid, completing 64% of his passes and compiling a QB rating of 95.3. Alshon Jeffrey, his primary pass catcher, is injured and the latest new is he may not play.
Cutler will still have TE Martellus Bennet to throw to. Bennet has made three touchdown catches. Matt Forte (4.0 AVG, 2 TDs, 4 @20+) and rookie Jeremy Langford (3.5 AVG, 4 TDS) make for a solid running tandem. Both can also catch passes.
Denver is at -1.0 and the over/under is 40.5. We like the Bears in this one along with the under.
Washington at Carolina
Washington is coming off of a 47-14 victory against a New Orleans club that lacks any defensive prowess. The week before, New England hammered the Skins 27-10, while the week prior to that Washington squeaked by Tampa 31-30. This week, Washington will attempt to do something they have not done all season, win two straight.
The Carolina Panthers, which is at 9-0, have proven to be a solid and consistent club. In their three past contests they have beaten Tennessee (27-10), Green Bay (37-29), and Indianapolis (29-26). Thus far this season, Carolina has always figured out a way to win.
Skins Quarterback Kirk Cousins (67.9% COMP, 14 TDs, 9 INTs) has a solid rating of 89.9. His top targets are TE Jordan Reed, who has brought in six touchdown passes, and WR Pierre Garcon, with three TD catches.
RB Matt Jones has posted some solid stats. These include a 3.9 AVG, 3 TDs, and 3 runs for 20+. But Jones has fumbled three times and lost all three of those balls. Chris Thompson, another running back, can run and catch. On the ground, he’s averaging 8.9 YPA and on catches he’s at 7.5 YPC.
This is a club with a defense that is overall average. One highlight is Bashaud Breeland who leads the team with eight passes defended and two interceptions. Also, Washington has a penchant for forcing turnovers. They have caused a dozen fumbles and recovered eight. But they are allowing 23 PPG.
The Panther defense is giving up just 19.4 PPG. They have posted 26 sacks, 14 picks and nine forced fumbles with six recoveries. Two of their key D players are Kawann Short, with six sacks, and Josh Norman, with four interceptions and 14 PD.
QB Cam Newton (56.3% COMP, 15 TDs, 9 INTs) is a dual threat. His passing can be problematic, but, often, his rushing ability can get him out of trouble. Newton, who is averaging 4.5 yards per rush and has six rushing scores, can also count on RB Jonathan Stewart to rack up yards. Stewart, who is averaging close to four yards per rush, has a total of 662 yards total and has crossed the goal line four times.
Newton will look to TE Greg Olsen and WR Ted Ginn Jr. as pass catchers. Olsen leads the team with 45 catches for 664 yards. He’s averaging 14.8 YPC and has caught 5 touchdown passes. Ginn has three touchdown catches and is averaging a hefty 16.3 YPC
The Panthers are solid 7.5-point favorites. We like Carolina. The over/under stands at 44.5. Take the under on this one.