The Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams kick off Week 1 of the NFL season on Sunday Night Football in primetime. Both teams made it to the postseason in 2020 and will usher in new quarterbacks to start the season.
Sunday night’s kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. EST inside SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. NBC’s Sunday Night Football crew will call the game. According to the oddsmakers, the Rams are an 8-point favorite, and the point total over-under is at 47.
What to Know – Chicago Bears
Chicago opened up the 2020 season, winning five of their first six games under third-year head coach Matt Nagy. The Bears lost their next six games but still managed to sneak into the playoffs with an 8-8 record.
Veteran Andy Dalton was dubbed the starter to begin the season, but Chicago traded up in the 2020 NFL Draft to grab Ohio State product Justin Fields with the 11th pick in the first round. Dalton played in 11 games last season for Dallas, starting nine of them. He finished the season with 2,170 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
David Montgomery returns as the bell cow in the backfield. Montgomery eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark in his second season, tallying 1,070 yards on the ground with eight touchdowns. The 24-year old found the endzone in the last five games of the regular season.
Dalton will have Chicago’s top two wideouts last season back at his disposal. Allen Robinson II (102 receptions, 1,250 yards, 6 T.D.s) and Darnell Mooney (61 receptions, 631 yards, 4 T.D.s) give Dalton a pair of targets on the edge.
Chicago’s elite defense enters the season banged up with defensive ends Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn both questionable. Nose tackle Eddie Goldman has already been ruled out for Sunday night’s contest with a knee injury.
What to Know – Los Angeles Rams
The Rams wrapped up the 2020 season with a 10-6 record and returned to the postseason. 35-year old head coach Sean McVay marks his fifth season as the leader of the Rams.
Matthew Stafford comes to L.A. after more than a decade of service for the Detriot Lions. Stafford joins a team ready to contend for a title, a welcome sign after years of struggle with the Lions. Stafford threw for 4,084 yards and 26 touchdowns with ten interceptions in his final season in Detroit.
Starting running back, Cam Akers suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in preseason practice, turning the rushing duties over to backup Darrell Henderson Jr. Henderson averaged 4.5 yards per carrying last year, accounting for 624 yards and three touchdowns.
Last season, the Rams defense led the league in points (18.5) and yards (281.9) allowed. Three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald is back to lead a star-studded group.
The Pick is In
There are many similarities between these two teams, but the Rams have a superior talent advantage across the board. Chicago has struggled to score against this Rams defense and finished 2-4 over their final six road games last year. That combination favors the hosts.
The Pick: Los Angeles Rams -8