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Can the Bears knock off the Bucs two years in a row?
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Can the Bears knock off the Bucs two years in a row?

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NFL Insider Matt Erickson

Matt Erickson

The Bears' loss to the Packers went reasonably as expected — they made things interesting early and stuck around for a while until Aaron Rodgers and Co. ultimately pulled away.

We could see a similar story this week on their road trip to Tampa.

Last season, the Bears beat Tom Brady and the Bucs — and the Bucs went on to win the Super Bowl. The Bucs have been outstanding again this year, and Brady is playing even better than he did a year ago. I think the Bears' defense can keep things from getting out of hand for 45 minutes, but asking for a win on the road might be a bridge too far. Still, that 12-point spread is a big one, and back-door covers are a common occurrence in the NFL.

Going into the season, it would have been reasonable to expect the Bears to be 1-5 or 2-4 right now. But they're 3-3 and their two games after this before their bye — 49ers at home and Steelers on the road — are winnable ones. It's not outside the realm of possibility they could be 5-4 going into their break. Looking at the rest of their schedule, 9-8 is lofty — but doable. And that could get a playoff spot in this first year with 17 games. That's putting the cart before the horse, of course, but I'm just saying if they can win a game or two they're not supposed to, Bears fans have hope.

The Colts came up big against the mostly hapless Texans last week with their best game of the season on both sides of the ball. Their reward? They have to travel to San Francisco to face a Niners team coming off its bye – and with Jimmy Garoppolo back at quarterback. Carson Wentz has been playing well for the Colts, but I think this might turn into a Week 7 blowout, despite the reasonably close spread.

Besides the Bears, there are two other double-digit underdogs this week. The Giants are 'dogs of more than two touchdowns on the road at the Rams. But what's fun about this one is it's a showdown of quarterbacks facing their former teams. We seldom see starting quarterbacks traded for each other, but in the offseason the Rams sent Jared Goff to Detroit for Matthew Stafford. The Lions are 0-6 with Goff — though they've been competitive a few times. The Rams are 5-1 and Stafford is among the league leaders in most key offensive QB categories. Both QBs probably have something to prove to their former teams, but I think Stafford will be the one shining again. Despite the expected blowout, it's still a fun game to keep an eye on.

Something to know if you're betting games this week: Double-digit favorites are 8-0 so far this year, and 6-2 against the spread. If you bet those three (Rams, Bucs, Cardinals) this week on the moneyline — they'd just need to win — a $20 bet would give you a return around $27 if it hits, so a $7 or so profit.

Washington (2-4) at Green Bay (5-1)

Time/TV: Noon Sunday, Fox

Line: Packers -7.5 (48.5)

Best prop bet: Aaron Rodgers (GB) over 253.5 passing yards

MattE’s pick: Packers 31, Redskins 20

Kansas City (3-3) at Tennessee (4-2)

Time/TV: Noon Sunday, CBS

Line: Chiefs -5 (57.5)

Best prop bet: Darrel Williams (TEN) over 56.5 rushing yards

MattE’s pick: Chiefs 34, Titans 30

Cincinnati (4-2) at Baltimore (5-1)

Time: Noon Sunday

Line: Ravens -6 (46.5)

Best prop bet: Ravens -13.5 alternate point spread (+210)

MattE’s pick: Ravens 37, Bengals 20

Carolina (3-3) at N.Y. Giants (1-5)

Time: Noon Sunday

Line: Panthers -2.5 (42.5)

Best prop bet: Chuba Hubbard (CAR) over 73.5 rushing yards

MattE’s pick: Giants 23, Panthers 20

Atlanta (2-3) at Miami (1-5)

Time: Noon Sunday

Line: Falcons -2 (48)

Best prop bet: Matt Ryan (ATL) over 278.5 passing yards

MattE’s pick: Falcons 27, Dolphins 20

N.Y. Jets (1-4) at New England (2-4)

Time: Noon Sunday

Line: Patriots -6.5 (43)

Best prop bet: Corey Davis (NYJ) over 53.5 receiving yards

MattE’s pick: Patriots 26, Jets 23

Detroit (0-6) at L.A. Rams (5-1)

Time: 3:05 p.m. Sunday

Line: Rams -15.5 (51)

Best prop bet: Matthew Stafford (LAR) over 2.5 passing TDs

MattE’s pick: Rams 34, Lions 16

Philadelphia (2-4) at Las Vegas (4-2)

Time: 3:05 p.m. Sunday

Line: Raiders -3 (49.5)

Best prop bet: Jalen Hurts (PHI) to score a touchdown

MattE’s pick: Eagles 31, Raiders 27

BEARS (3-3) at Tampa Bay (5-1)

Time/TV: 3:25 p.m. Sunday, CBS

Line: Buccaneers -12 (47.5)

Best prop bet: Tom Brady (TB) under 303.5 passing yards

MattE’s pick: Buccaneers 27, Bears 17

Houston (1-5) at Arizona (6-0)

Time: 3:25 p.m. Sunday

Line: Cardinals -17.5 (47.5)

Best prop bet: DeAndre Hopkins (ARI) over 69.5 receiving yards

MattE’s pick: Cardinals 38, Texans 16

COLTS (2-4) at San Francisco (2-3)

Time/TV: 7:20 p.m. Sunday, NBC

Line: 49ers -4.5 (44)

Best prop bet: Jimmy Garoppolo (SF) over 225.5 passing yards

MattE’s pick: 49ers 27, Colts 13

New Orleans (3-2) at Seattle (2-4)

Time/TV: 7:15 p.m. Monday, ABC/ESPN

Line: Saints -4.5 (42.5)

Best prop bet: Alvin Kamara (NO) over 29.5 receiving yards

MattE’s pick: Saints 26, Seahawks 20

Week 6 results: 11-3 straight up, 8-6 against the spread.

Season: 61-33 (.649) straight up, 51-43 (.543) against the spread.

Listed odds are from if available and may have changed by time of publication.

Matt Erickson is an award-winning journalist whose NFL picks have appeared in The Times since 2003. He also writes about the Oscars, food and travel for the paper and is an editor in USA Today's Sports Media Group.

Matt Erickson is an award-winning journalist whose NFL picks have appeared in The Times since 2003. He also writes about the Oscars, food and travel for the paper and is an editor in USA Today's Sports Media Group.


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