NFL Picks: Saints -2.5 vs. Bears for Monday Night Football

Jason Lake

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 3:51 PM GMT

Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014 3:51 PM GMT

They’re already pouring the dirt over the 2014 Chicago Bears. With the playoffs out of reach, the Bears are 3-point home dogs on the NFL odds board for Monday night’s tilt with the New Orleans Saints.

Jason’s record after Week 14: 35-48-1 ATS, 18-22-1 Totals

When the 2014 NFL season got underway, there was serious discussion about Jay Cutler maybe becoming the league’s MVP. Now his name is mud. Despite arguably the best season of Cutler’s nine-year career, his Chicago Bears are out of the playoffs at 5-8 SU and ATS. Head coach Marc Trestman is under the microscope, too. One or both of them could be ridden out of town on a rail next month.

Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saints are also 5-8 SU and ATS, but nobody’s talking about getting rid of Drew Brees or Sean Payton. Fair enough – they’ve got a history of success in the Big Easy, including a Super Bowl victory. But it’s also because the Saints could still make the playoffs by winning the awful NFC South. That motivation could be all the difference this Monday night (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) when New Orleans visits Solider Field as a 3-point chalk on the Week 15 NFL odds board.

 

Rain Ready
This would normally be where we tell you about how awful the Saints are on the road in December and all that. But as you saw in Week 14, the Bears couldn’t prevent the Dallas Cowboys from winning 41-28 as 4-point road faves. Sweater weather? No help at all for Chicago. The forecast for Monday Night Football calls for a 50 percent chance of cold, cold rain, by the way.

People are still betting on New Orleans. Our consensus reports at press time show 63 percent support for the Saints, up from 56 percent at the open. That number should only climb as the betting public chimes in over the weekend. So what if the Saints have lost four of their last five, all as favorites at the Superdome? They’re still No. 8 on the public money charts over the past 30 days.

 

I.R. Bear
We’re going to focus instead on the Bears. Their season started going pear-shaped very early on when CB Charles “Peanut” Tillman went on injured reserve with a torn triceps. Then the offensive line lost LG Matt Slauson (pectorals) and LE Lamarr Houston (knee) for the season, followed by LB Lance Briggs (groin), center Brian De La Puente (ankle), and now WR Brandon Marshall (ribs). And that’s just the people who ended up on IR.

Of course, it’s the quarterback and the head coach who are getting all the blame for Chicago’s poor performance. Cutler (26 TDs, 15 INTs, 91.7 passer rating) has actually played well this year; he was 32-of-46 against the Cowboys for 341 yards, a pair of touchdown passes and just one pick. Granted, much of that was in garbage time in the fourth quarter, but still.

 

Oyage!
As for Trestman, he’s being accused of not “getting the most” out of Chicago’s defense, which ranks No. 27 in the league (No. 28 pass, No. 15 rush) on the latest DVOA charts at Football Outsiders. There might be something to that – his speciality is on offense, specifically with quarterbacks. But Trestman can only work with the players he has, and they’re dropping like flies.

Even the Chicago special teams haven’t been able to evade the injury bug. Place-kicker Robbie Gould, who’s struggling this year at 9-of-12 on field goals (Small Sample Size alert), suffered a quad injury and was replaced last week by Jay Feely, who didn’t get to try any figgies against Dallas. But he did have a PAT blocked in the fourth quarter. When making your NFL picks keep in mind that we don’t know at press time who’ll be kicking for the Bears this Monday, but unless they’ve been scouting mules in the former Yugoslavia, it doesn’t look like it’ll matter.

Free NFL Pick: Take the Saints -2.5 at 5Dimes

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