New England Patriots at Chicago Bears
Where: Soldier Field, Chicago
The New England Patriots appear to have found their mojo after a rocky start to the season and will take a three-game winning streak into Sunday afternoon’s matchup at the Chicago Bears. The Patriots are coming off a thrilling victory over the previously unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs but they have lost both road games by double-digit margins this season.
New England scored a combined 30 points in road losses at Jacksonville and Detroit but has averaged 39.7 points during its three-game run following the 43-40 win over the Chiefs. “No matter how they start, they always finish strong and they get better every single week throughout the year,” Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said of the Patriots. “So it will be a great challenge for this team this week and we’ll kind of have a good measurement of where we’re at as a team and how we’ve grown from last year and the first bunch of games this year.” Chicago failed to hold an 11-point third-quarter lead and had a three-game winning streak snapped on a last-second overtime loss at Miami last weekend. “This really looks like a 5-0 team to me,” New England coach Bill Belichick said of the Bears, whose two losses have come by a combined four points.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Patriots -2.5. O/U: 49
ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (4-2): The return of Julian Edelman from suspension and the addition of fellow wide receiver Josh Gordon via trade has provided a boost for quarterback Tom Brady, who has thrown for 681 yards over the past two games. “As a football player, you always want to play against the best players at a position,” Bears linebacker Leonard Floyd said. “It definitely adds fuel to the fire going against Tom Brady.” Rookie running back Sony Michel has added balance to the offense by rushing for 316 yards and three touchdowns during the three-game winning streak. New England’s defense was gashed by the Chiefs and ranks 21st against the pass (268.7 yards per game).
ABOUT THE BEARS (4-2): After three pedestrian efforts to open the season, Trubisky has put together two stellar back-to-back performances by passing for 670 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception while completing over 71 percent of his passes in each. Running back Jordan Howard has received 25 carries over the past two weeks but third-down back Tarik Cohen has emerged as a weapon with 14 receptions for 211 yards and two touchdowns in that span. Wide receiver Allen Robinson (groin) and star pass rusher Khalil Mack (ankle) each sat out practice again Thursday. Mack’s absence would be a huge blow for a defense that has 18 sacks, 10 interceptions and nine forced fumbles.
1. Brady has won all four meetings against Chicago, throwing for 1,318 yards with 11 TDs versus three interceptions.
2. Mack, who has never missed a regular-season game, has five sacks and four forced fumbles in five games this season.
3. Patriots RB James White has 37 catches and four receiving touchdowns this season.