Chicago Bears (0-0) vs Baltimore Ravens (0-0)Date : 08/02/2018
Time : 8:00 PM
Location : Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
Chicago Bears vs Baltimore Ravens
The dreaded wait for football is starting to come to an end as we will finally see the NFL kickoff as the Baltimore Ravens and the Chicago Bears will open the preseason in the annual Hall of Fame game which is played in Caton, Ohio. Opening kickoff is set for 8:00 PM and if you want to catch the big name players from both teams play make sure you tune in for the first quarter as the preseason is more so for the backups rather than the stars.
Chicago Bears's Latest Performance :
The Chicago Bears have failed to make the playoffs in 7 consecutive seasons which has prompted 4 different coaches during that time span but hopes are high for first-year coach Matt Nagy as he had a successful run as the offensive coordinator in Kansas City. The Bears forced their rookie QB into action way ahead of schedule and it showed as Mitch Trubisky only threw for 2,193 yards and an even 7 TDs and 7 interceptions. Nagy was able to develop Alex Smith into a solid QB during his tenure in Kansas City and management is hoping that Trubisky takes a step forward this season given another year under his belt. The Bears do have some solid RBs to work with as they had Jordan Howard rush for 1,122 yards as well as Tarik Cohen contribute a combined 723 yards through the air and on the ground. The spot that has Bear fans slobbering over is the WR spot as they should be strong this season after they will return guys off injury as well as welcome some new weapons into the lineup. The starting wide receivers will consist of Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel who come over from Jacksonville and Atlanta after having success in their tenure. They are also excited about TE Trey Burton coming into town after catching 5 TD passes for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles last season. The defense was one of the more underrated units last season as they ranked inside the top 10 in most of the major statistical categories. Danny Trevathan was the leader of the defense from the middle linebacker spot as the 27-year-old led the team with a team-high 60 tackles and expect him to have an even bigger year considering this will be his second season in Chicago. The Bears have one of the most underrated DBs in the NFL as Kyle Fuller was a do-it-all guy for the defense last year as he didn’t only contribute a team-high 2 interceptions and 22 pass deflections but was also tied for 1st in tackles as he had 60. One of the guys he led the team in tackles with was safety Adrian Amos who also contributed 60 tackles in what was his 3rd professional season. DE Akiem Hicks will lead the young group of pass rushers as the 28-year-old is coming off a career year where he contributed 8.5 sacks, expect Hicks and Leonard Floyd to have a big year from off the edge.
Baltimore Ravens's Latest Performance :
The Baltimore Ravens enter the 2018 season with the hope that they can return back to the playoffs for the first time since 2014 and hopes are high for the Ravens especially after the moves they made in free agency and the draft. The Ravens ended 2017 with a 9-7 record which had them in 2nd place in the AFC North and even though the Steelers once again look like the front-runner Harbaugh is hoping his team can lock down a wildcard spot at least. Joe Flacco was the leading passer for the Ravens last season as the 11-year veteran threw for 3,141 yards and 18 TDs but given this was a down year for the former Deleware star the Ravens went and made moves for more elite QBs. This past offseason the Ravens didn’t only sign former Heisman trophy winner RGIII but they also traded back into the first round and acquired Lamar Jackson who was one of the most electric college football players in the country. The wide receiver group was sluggish last season as Mike Wallace was the leading receiver with 748 yards but since he moved on from Baltimore management knew they needed to make some moves. The Ravens should be better off at the WR spot this season after they went out and signed Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead all elite pass catchers. The defense was one of the strongholds for the Ravens last season as they ranked 6th in the NFL in points allowed with 18.9 PPG but expect this unit to be even better this season as they had little to no turnover. CJ Mosley leads the Ravens from the linebacker spot as the former Alabama Crimson Tide compiled a team-high 96 tackles with an additional 2 TDs. Joining Mosley will be the never aging veteran Terrell Suggs who was just as good in year 15 as he was in year 1 as the 6’3 pass rusher had a team-high in sacks with 11. The secondary is the strongest unit out of any of the levels for the defense as they are stacked at both the safety and cornerback spots. Eric Weddle was the leader of the defense last season from the safety spot as the 32-year-old brought down a team-high 6 interceptions from the middle of the field. Weddle is joined by Brandon Carr and Jimmy Smith who locked down WRs last season with a combination of 7 interceptions and 21 pass deflections. Former first-round pick Marlon Humphries was also very good in the nickel spot last season as the rookie was able to record 11 pass deflections with another 2 interceptions.
How Chicago Bears & Baltimore Ravens Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
Chicago ended 2017 with an 8-6-2 record ATS.
Baltimore ended 2017 with an 8-7-1 record ATS.
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
Chicago ranked 29th in PPG last season as they averaged 16.5 PPG while the Ravens ranked 9th as they averaged 24.7 PPG.
Baltimore ranked 6th in team defense last season as they allowed 18.9 PPG while the Bears ranked 9th where they allowed 20.0 PPG.
Against The Spread Selection: Baltimore Ravens -1
My reason for the pick :
Preseason is hard to bet on but given the thing I truly like about this game is the depth of quarterbacks that the Ravens will put on display against the Bears. Joe Flacco will most likely get the starting reps for the Ravens but what follows is dangerous as Harbaugh can deploy two former Heisman trophy winners in RGIII and Lamar Jackson who have a lot to prove this season. The Ravens were one of the teams that were fighting for the last spot in the AFC wildcard race but the one thing that held back this franchise was the weak QB and WR play. I expect the Ravens to be much better this season as they upgraded both positions with speed and I’m sure that Harbaugh will make sure that the QBs are ready to battle each other for the starting role. Expect the Ravens to come away with the opening night win.