Cardinals vs. Bears Week 13 Picks: Rested Arizona Returns Atop NFC Race
The Arizona Cardinals return from a Week 12 bye to visit the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. We break it down with our Cardinals-Bears picks.
The Cardinals (9-2) come off the bye in the NFC's top seed and will put a perfect 6-0 road record on the line. The Bears (4-7) are just 2-3 at home and narrowly avoided embarrassment with a 16-14 road win over the winless Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day.
Chicago's win snapped a five-game losing skid but dropped the Bears to 1-5 against the spread across their last six games. Arizona dispatched the rival Seattle Seahawks 23-13 before its bye after going 1-2 both straight up and ATS in its previous three games.
Cardinals QB Kyler Murray (ankle) is reportedly hopeful to return from a three-game absence, as is WR DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring). It's likely Bears QB Andy Dalton makes a second straight start in place of rookie QB Justin Fields (ribs).
Here are my picks and predictions for the NFL Week 13 matchup between the Cardinals and Bears (odds via BetMGM; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Cardinals vs. Bears Week 13 Game Info
Date/Time: Sunday, Dec. 5, 1 p.m. ETTV: FOXLocation: Soldier Field, Chicago, ILWeather: 48 degrees, 70% chance of precipitation, 15 mph winds
Cardinals vs. Bears Odds Analysis
The line opened on Sunday with the Cardinals favored by 7. It dropped to 7.5 by mid-day Monday and has held steady despite nearly 90% of the cash wagered on Arizona.
The total has dropped slightly from the opener of 46.5. The top U.S. sportsbooks are offering -110 odds on either side, but the number could jump higher by Sunday morning if Murray and Hopkins keep trending toward playing.
Cardinals vs. Bears Picks
Cardinals -7.5 (-110) ????Over 45.5 (-110) ?????
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Cardinals vs. Bears Predictions
Cardinals -7.5 (-110)
The Cardinals seem to be in line to truly benefit from their bye in getting Murray and Hopkins back on the field. Even without them, Arizona went 2-0 on the road with at least 23 points scored in each game. The lone loss was a 34-10 beatdown at the hands of the Carolina Panthers at home in Week 10.
Murray had been an MVP contender, if not front-runner, through his first eight games. He had 17 passing touchdowns and three rushing scores against seven interceptions. His 72.7 completion percentage still leads the NFL.
The Cardinals offense ranks fourth in the league by pass DVOA. A healthy Murray and Hopkins tandem would help to ease the pressure on a backfield still missing RB Chase Edmonds (ankle). RB James Conner has shouldered the load with 336 total yards and five touchdowns over his last three games, but the Arizona rushing attack still ranks just 24th by DVOA.
Whether it’s Dalton or Fields under center, Bears head coach Matt Nagy's offense has been futile. The 16 points scored on the hapless Lions lowered Chicago's season average to 16.3 points per game. The Bears are 25th by offensive DVOA, and their 4.9 yards per play ranks 29th in football.
A Chicago defense that’s just 22nd by weighted DVOA and 17th by pass DVOA could be missing a combination of DE Mario Edwards Jr. (ribs), DT Akiem Hicks (ankle), and LB Roquan Smith (hamstring). Don't pay any heed to the Bears holding the Lions to 14 points last week.
The Cardinals cover the -7.5 and roll to a comfy win to remain atop the NFC.
Over 45.5 (-110)
There's a reasonable chance the Cardinals get close to this number on their own if Murray and Hopkins are both able to return to the field. The lousy fall weather in Chicago could be a problem for head coach Kliff Kingsbury's aerial assault offense, but just their presence alone will be a big boost for the red-hot Conner.
Though the Cardinals have the NFL's fourth-ranked scoring defense with 18.4 points allowed per game and the third-ranked defense by weighted DVOA, they are susceptible to the run. Arizona is a modest 15th by rush DVOA and gives up 4.3 yards per carry.
If poor weather helps to keep the Cardinals from building a multi-score lead, the Bears should be able to lean on their greatest strength in the rushing attack.
Back the Over on one of the lowest totals of the week in a game likely to be featuring two of the league's top offensive stars.
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Cardinals-Bears picks made on 12/1/2021 at 6:05 p.m. ET.