The Sunday GPS, Week VII: Who dat at QB? Bears' Trubisky eyes return vs. Saints
GOLD JACKET GAME OF THE WEEK
NEW ORLEANS @ CHICAGO, 4:25 p.m. (EDT)
The line: Bears by 3
The weather: Partly cloudy, high of 57
The story: The Bears say they “like where Mitch Trubisky is,” and you will, too, if you’re from Chicago. Because even though he's listed as "questionable," it means he may start this game after missing three weeks with a dislocated shoulder. The last time we saw the Bears they looked dysfunctional for a half in their loss to Oakland, and maybe it was the trip to London, maybe it was the late departure for England or maybe it was backup Chase Daniel. Whatever it was, they lost a game they shouldn’t have and now return a quarterback who is 3-1 as a starter this season and 14-4 the past two. Plus, they’re home vs. a Saints’ team without Alvin Kamara and Drew Brees ... and welcome to the Big Easy, right? Not so fast. New Orleans still has Teddy Bridgewater, and they haven’t lost with him at quarterback. Go ahead and look it up. They’re 4-0.
Something to consider: The Bears allowed a touchdown in only seven of 20 quarters this season.
THREE OTHERS WORTHY OF HALL OF FRAMING
HOUSTON @ INDIANAPOLIS, 1 p.m. (EDT)
The line: Texans by 1
The weather: Partly cloudy, high of 73 (retractable roof)
The story: Two weeks ago, the Colts upset Kansas City. One week later, the Texans did the same thing. Both teams are tied at the top of the AFC South, so now the question: Who’s better? That’s why we’re here, people. Me? I like the Texans’ defense, and I like the Texans’ quarterback … which, apparently, the oddsmakers do, too. Plus, the Texans are on the road where only a last-second 58-yard field goal stands between them and a 3-0 record this season. OK, so Indy is 14-3 vs. Houston at home, but this just in: The Texans won all three of those games in the past four years.
Something to consider: The Colts scored 23 or more points in their last 10 home games, the second longest active streak in the NFL. Only New England (14) is better.
BALTIMORE @ SEATTLE, 4:25 p.m. (EDT)
The line: Seahawks by 3-1/2
The weather: Showers, high of 56
The story: This is a homecoming for Ravens’ safety Earl Thomas who, until this summer, was Seahawks’ safety Earl Thomas. In nine years in Seattle, Thomas was named to six Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl. That was good. This wasn’t: The last time Seattle saw him he was carted off the field with a season-ending injury and a one-fingered salute for his former head coach. But that was then, and this is now … and now Thomas is part of a first-place team led by a quarterback who can run as well … and sometimes better … than he throws. That used to be the rap, of course, on Thomas’ former quarterback, Russell Wilson, but not anymore. He’s having an MVP season, the Seahawks are hot and they’re home vs. one of the most valued members of the Legion of Boom. “If there’s any emotion at all,” Thomas said this week, “it’s always fire.” But who has the matches?
Something to consider: The Ravens lead the NFL in time of possession with an average of 36:28 per game. Seattle is fourth at 32:18.
PHILADELPHIA @ DALLAS 8:20 p.m. (EDT)
The line: Cowboys by 3
The weather: Mostly sunny, high of 87 (retractable roof)
The line: Michael Irvin says the Cowboys need “H-E-L-P,” and he’s right. But adding Antonio Brown isn’t the answer. Getting injured tackles Tyron Smith and La’lei Collins back, as well as wide receivers Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb, is. Make no mistake, there’s trouble in Big D. The Cowboys have lost three straight, starters are hurt, Dak Prescott is under fire and irate fans want Jason Garrett 86’d. So this game is … well, “huge,” said tight end Jason Witten. “Both teams’ backs are against the wall.” Oh, yeah … Philadelphia. Well, the Eagles didn’t trade for Jalen Ramsey, have issues of their own with Jason Peters, Nigel Bradham and DeSean Jackson hurt and just got drilled by Minnesota. As Witten said, this game is huge. For both teams.
Something to consider: The Eagles have surrendered 24 or more points in five of their six games.
OUR BEST BETS
(All picks are made vs. the spread)
RON BORGES – SEATTLE (--3-1/2). Seahawks overrated, but the flight to southern Alaska kills their opponents.
CLARK JUDGE – SAN FRANCISCO (--9-1/2). – I believe. I believe. It’s 1990 all over again.
RICK GOSSELIN – HOUSTON (--1). The Texans have played on the road three times. They beat the Chargers and Chiefs and lost to the Drew Brees-led Saints on a 58-yard field goal at the gun.
THE WEEKEND OMG
Baker Mayfield’s 11 interceptions are the most by a Browns’ quarterback through the first six games of a season since Paul McDonald had 12 in 1984.
FIVE GUYS TO WATCH
RUSSELL WILSON, QB, Seattle. With at least two touchdown passes Sunday, he passes Brett Favre for third on the list of quarterbacks with most career games with two or more TD passes. He and Favre are tied at 67. Peyton Manning has 74 and Dan Marino 72.
DESHAUN WATSON, QB, Houston. He needs 16 yards rushing to reach 1,000 for his career in 30 games. Only six quarterbacks in NFL history reached 1,000 career rushing yards in fewer than 30 games.
MATT RYAN, QB, Atlanta. With 300 yards Sunday he becomes the first quarterback in league history to throw for 300 or more yards in each of his first seven games of a season.
SAQUON BARKLEY, RB, N. Y. Giants. With 100 yards from scrimmage he ties Hall-of-Fame candidate Edgerrin James at 16 for the most games with 100 or more yards from scrimmage in the first 20 games of a player’s career.
TERRY MCLAURIN, WR, Washington. He can tie former Detroit star Earl McCullough as the only players in league history to have 50 or more receiving yards in each of their first six NFL games.
TEN THINGS YOU MIGHT WANT TO REMEMBER
1. The New England Patriots lead the league in points per game (31.7) and points allowed per game (8.0). Through six games, the Pats’ +142-point differential is the third highest in the Super Bowl era. Only the 1999 St. Louis Rams (+154) and the 1968 Dallas Cowboys (+149) were higher.
2. Arizona hasn’t lost a fumble, the first time in franchise history that’s happened over the first six games.
3. The Cardinals have as many scoring drives (28) through six games this year as they did through 13 in 2018.
4. In the 13 games that Lamar Jackson has started as Baltimore’s quarterback, the Ravens average 218.2 yards rushing per start.
5. Chicago’s Matt Nagy is 4-1 following a loss.
6. Kirk Cousins has put up an NFL-best 142.5 passer rating the past two weeks.
7. The Houston Texans haven’t allowed a sack in back-to-back games for the first time since Weeks 1-2 of 2014.
8. The Texans forced a turnover in 19 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL.
9. Indianapolis has been called for the league’s fewest penalties (27) and the fewest yards penalized (199).
10. The Raiders haven’t beaten Green Bay since 1987, a streak that includes six straight losses.
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