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Over/Under Pick for Tennessee Titans at Chicago Bears

Tennessee Titans(5-6-0) @ Chicago Bears(2-8-0)

  • Where: Soldier Field. Chicago, Illinois
  • When: November 27, 2016 1:00 pm EST
  • Spread: Titans -3 vs. Bears +3
  • Moneyline: Titans -120 vs. Bears + 102
  • Over / Under: Over 42 (-110) vs. Under 42 (-110)

The Tennessee Titans look to remain in the thick of the AFC South title chase Sunday when they face a Chicago Bears team that will turn to its third starting quarterback this season.

Despite owning a 5-6 record, the Titans are just 1 1/2 games behind the Houston Texans for the division lead. Befitting their mediocre mark, Tennessee has alternated wins and losses in its last six games and is looking to rebound from a 24-17 defeat at Indianapolis in which it was unable to rally from a 21-0 deficit established less than 20 minutes into the game.

The game was in stark contrast to Week 10, when the Titans scored three first-quarter touchdowns in their eventual 47-25 road win over the Green Bay Packers. Despite the loss to the Colts, Marcus Mariota again played well, finishing with 290 passing yards and two touchdowns without an interception. The second-year quarterback has thrown at least two touchdown passes in seven consecutive games and has thrown for 1,847 yards and 19 TDs with only three interceptions in that span.

Chicago, which is last in the NFC North, has dropped two in a row and five of its last six following a 22-16 setback to the New York Giants on the road. Jay Cutler threw for 252 yards and a touchdown for the Bears, but there are reports he has a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder that has ended his season. Cutler had already missed six games this season with a thumb injury, and previous backup Brian Hoyer was placed on the injured reserve with a broken arm suffered against Green Bay on Oct. 20

That leaves Matt Barkley as the likely starting signal-caller for the Bears. He relieved Hoyer against the Packers and completed 6 of 15 passes for 81 yards while being intercepted twice in Chicago’s 26-10 defeat. The Bears also signed David Fales, their sixth-round pick in 2014 who has never appeared in an NFL game, to serve as Barkley’s backup.

Mariota Looks to Extend Dominance of NFC Teams

While it’s only a small sample size of seven games, Mariota has been a terror in interconference games. He has completed 70.8 percent of his passes for 1,569 yards and 16 touchdowns with only three interceptions against NFC teams, and he enters this contest 3-0 on the road in such games, with 818 yards and 10 TD tosses while completing passes at a 75.9 percent clip.

Additionally, Mariota and Rishard Matthews have been on the same wavelength in the last three weeks. Originally a seventh-round pick by the Dolphins in 2012, Matthews has 18 catches for 248 yards in that span and finished with a career-high 122 yards last week versus Indianapolis. Mariota has spread the wealth well in Tennessee’s offense — five players have at least 25 receptions — and Matthews could again shine in this contest.

How Will the Bears Keep it Close?

This is not going to be an easy game for the Bears. In the six possessions Barkley led the Bears against the Packers last month, they totaled 121 yards and three points while turning the ball over twice. Chicago has leaned heavily on running back Jordan Howard the last three games, and he’s delivered with 330 yards while averaging 5.7 yards per carry, but he’s going to likely face seven and eight-man fronts in this game since the Titans will dare Barkley to beat them as opposed to letting the rookie running back from Indiana do so.

Defensively, the Bears must find a way to create turnovers, a problem that has plagued them all season. Chicago has just nine takeaways and never forced more than two in any contest. The Bears rank tied for 26th with five interceptions, ahead of only Dallas, Jacksonville and Indianapolis.

Why I’m Taking the UNDER in the Titans vs. Bears Game

Even before it was learned Cutler was likely done for the season, the Bears entered Week 12 ranked 31st in points scored with 157, ahead of only the Los Angeles Rams. Now with a third-string quarterback in Barkley under center, expect Chicago to be conservative in play-calling to help him manage the game. While it might not be as bad as the Bears’ 26-0 loss at Seattle last year in which they had more punts (10) than first downs (7), it’s hard to see them sustaining scoring drives.

Additionally, Tennessee has an urgency to kill this game quickly and stay in contention in the AFC South, since winning the division is likely its only route to the postseason. Mariota’s recent numbers and numbers against the NFC are favorable for a win, but scoring more than five touchdowns may be too much of an ask here.

That is why I’m recommending to players to take THE UNDER of 42 points at Bovada for the game between the Tennessee Titans and Chicago Bears on Sunday.

Chris AltrudaThis article was written by Chris Altruda

Chris Altruda has spent more than two decades as a sportswriter, first for ESPN SportsTicker in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he rose to the level of college sports coordinator and was NCAA Men's Basketball Columnist. From there, he moved onto The Associated Press, where Chris started as an editorial assistant in their MegaSports division in the AP's headquarters in New York City before taking on the role of Scores Manager. He most recently served as an editor for nearly 11 years for STATS' editorial department based in Northbrook, Illinois, writing game previews for all US professional and major college sports as well as the English Premier League and international soccer. Currently a freelancer, Chris is still working the international soccer beat and other assorted projects. A native New Yorker and graduate of Marquette University who still refers to them as the Warriors, Chris is now holding out hope the Jets will reach a Super Bowl in his lifetime since the Cubs proved miracles are possible by winning the 2016 World Series. Chris can be found on Twitter at @AlTruda73

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