On Sunday, the Patriots head to the Windy City to face Khalil Mack and the Chicago Bears (3-2), with hopes of improving to 5-2 on the season. Chicago is coming off of a demoralizing overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins, and will definitely bring their A-game against Tom Brady & Co.
Here are a few things to consider entering this Week 7 contest.
1. Brady vs Mack: Who will prevail?
The marquee matchup of this game will be between Tom Brady’s offense and Khalil Mack’s defense, with both units being considered to be among the best the NFL has to offer. Brady and the offense are coming off of a brilliant performance against the previously undefeated Kansas City Chiefs, during which they dictated the pace of the game and unrelentingly dissected the hapless Chiefs defense. Unfortunately for the Pats, they will have to face a brilliant pass rush led by Mack, which has made a habit of getting after the quarterback and making life difficult for the offensive line. To be successful against the Bears defense, the Patriots should take a look at what Miami did last week, as backup quarterback Brock Osweiler was successful in leading the Dolphins to score 31 points. Also, Mack is still dealing with a lingering ankle injury, which may hamper his effectiveness. Look for the Patriots to use their speed at receiver and running back to take advantage of matchups against the Bears.
2. How will the Patriots defense perform?
Last week against the Chiefs, the Patriots’ defense was absolutely porous, as they gave up 31 points in the second half, which was a result of frequently busted coverages in the secondary. It’s sad for me to admit that I expect them to struggle once again this week, as they are facing off of a team that is led by Matt Nagy, who was the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator last season. Nagy has a reputation of being innovative on offense, and has definitely modeled his offense on that of the Chiefs, with the usage of dynamic running backs, athletic tight ends, and speedy wide receivers. Hopefully, Bill Belichick has come up with a game plan to deal with the Bears’ weapons, such as Tarik Cohen and Ryan Howard. One key takeaway from last week’s game is that the Patriots were able to win because they tricked Patrick Mahomes into making mistakes in the first half, and that will be essential this week when they face off against another young quarterback in Mitch Tribusky.
- Malcom Brown (knee) – Questionable
- Julian Edelman (heel) – Questionable
- Josh Gordon (hamstring) – Questionable
- Geneo Grissom (ankle) – Questionable
- Rob Gronkowski (ankle) – Questionable
- Jacob Hollister (hamstring) – Questionable
- Sony Michel (knee) – Questionable
- Eric Rowe (groin) – Questionable
- John Simon (shoulder) – Questionable
- Deatrich Wise (ankle/knee) – Questionable
- Marcus Cannon (concussion) – Questionable
- Khalil Mack (ankle) – Questionable
- Allen Robinson II (groin) – Questionable
- Prince Amukamara (hamstring) – Questionable
- Marcus Cooper Sr. (hamstring) – Questionable
- Eric Kush (neck) – Questionable
Prediction: Patriots 34, Bears 27
Here are my predictions for the rest of the NFL’s Week 7 contests
Last week: 8-5
Broncos at Cardinals: Broncos
Titans at Chargers: Chargers
Panthers at Eagles: Panthers
Vikings at Jets: Vikings
Bills at Colts: Colts
Texans at Jaguars: Texans
Browns at Buccaneers: Browns
Lions at Dolphins: Lions
Saints at Ravens: Saints
Cowboys at Redskins: Cowboys
Rams at 49ers: Rams
Bengals at Chiefs: Chiefs
Giants at Falcons: Falcons