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Cutler-less Bears host Ravens on Sunday
By: Brian Graham - StatFox
Published: 11/17/2013  at  2:40:00 AM
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BALTIMORE RAVENS (4-5)
at CHICAGO BEARS (5-4)

Kickoff: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET
Line: Chicago -3, Total: 45

The Ravens try to get their offense in gear Sunday when they face an injury-riddled Bears team.

Baltimore has averaged a paltry 17.8 PPG and 279 total YPG (67 rush YPG) in the past four contests, including 189 total yards in a 20-17 overtime win versus the Bengals last week to end a three-game losing skid. Chicago, which is 2-4 SU (1-5 ATS) in the past six games, will play this contest without QB Jay Cutler (ankle) and top CB Charles "Peanut" Tillman (triceps) who were both injured in last week’s 21-19 home loss, which dropped the club to 0-4-1 ATS at Soldier Field. But the good news for QB Josh McCown and the Bears is that the home team is 8-0 SU in this series since 1980, and the Ravens are 1-4 (SU and ATS) on the road this year. However, Baltimore doesn't usually have two horrible offensive games in a row, going 17-6 ATS (74%) after being held to 200 or less yards in its last game since 1992, and going 13-4 ATS (77%) after being outgained by 100+ total yards in its last game under John Harbaugh. But Chicago has two big trends in its favor as underdogs coming off a division game against an opponent off two straight division games are just 11-33 ATS (25%) in the past five seasons, and favorites allowing 370+ total YPG against an opponent giving up 335 to 370 total YPG are 39-13 ATS (75%) in the second half of the season over the past 10 years.

Can the Ravens get back to .500 with a big road win? For the answer, connect to NFL Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 season and playoffs. The experts are sizzling in NFL Best Bets, combining for a 64% ATS record (25-14) over the past three weeks, including 79% ATS (11-3) in Week 10. StatFox Brian went 3-1 ATS in Week 10, to improve to 71% ATS (12-5) over the past four weeks. He has not had a losing week since Week 3. StatFox Gary was 3-0 ATS in Week 10, marking his fourth perfect week since Week 4. StatFox Scott was also 3-0 ATS in Week 10 and is 58% ATS (14-10) since Week 4. StatFox Dave is 60% ATS (6-4) in NFL Best Bets since Week 8.

Ravens QB Joe Flacco is having his worst season as a pro, toting a career-low 77.3 passer rating with 6.7 YPA, 12 TD and 11 INT. Last season, Flacco had 33 TD and just 10 INT including playoffs. He's already been sacked 30 times, hitting the deck five times in three of his past four contests. But the team's offensive woes (4.5 yards per play, 2nd-worst in NFL), can't be put all on Flacco and the passing game, which has thrown for a serviceable 234.4 YPG (17th in league). The rushing offense has been abysmal, gaining a league-low 2.8 yards per carry and 73.1 rushing YPG (3rd-worst in NFL). Top RB Ray Rice has been slowed by a hip injury all season, gaining just 289 yards on 115 carries (2.5 YPC), while reaching 50 rushing yards just once this year. The Ravens have also been poor on third downs (35.6%, 24th in NFL), but have been strong in red-zone efficiency (57.1%, T-12th in league). Turnovers have also been a big problem lately with the team's 13 giveaways over the past six games. On defense, Baltimore has been excellent in stopping the run, allowing only 3.7 YPC (5th in NFL) and 102.6 rushing YPG (10th in league). The Ravens have also done a fantastic job when it has mattered most, ranking second in the NFL in red-zone efficiency defense (33.3%) and 4th on third downs (32.4%). But the Bears have some skill players that will give this unit a major challenge on Sunday.

Chicago QB Josh McCown has plenty of talented receivers to work with, including RB Matt Forte, WR Brandon Marshall, WR Alshon Jeffery and TE Martellus Bennett. This talent is a big reason why McCown has completed 62% of his passes for 952 yards (7.6 YPA), 6 TD and 4 INT in his six career games since joining the Bears in 2011. Forte's 4.4 YPC is why his team ranks 8th in the NFL in this category, but Chicago has also been a great passing team with 261.7 YPG (8th in league). Forte has compiled 1,023 total yards and 7 TD this year, while Marshall (786 rec. yards, 8 TD), Jeffery (735 rec. yards, 3 TD) and Bennett (421 rec. yards, 4 TD) have been the main targets through the air. Chicago has also done a great job of protecting its quarterback, allowing just 14 sacks all year (3rd-fewest in NFL), which has resulted in the team committing just three turnovers in the past five games combined. On defense, the Bears continue to give up too many yards with so many major injuries such as CB Charles Tillman (triceps), LB Lance Briggs (shoulder), LB D.J. Williams (pectoral) and DT Jay Ratliff (hernia), who are all out indefinitely. Chicago has allowed 6.1 yards per play (3rd-worst in NFL), 129 rushing YPG (2nd-worst in league) and 27.4 points per game (6th-worst in NFL). The red-zone efficiency defense has been decent (51.7%, 11th in league), but the Bears have been subpar on third downs, allowing a 41.3% conversion rate (7th-worst in NFL). And although its 20 takeaways have certainly helped this year, the team has forced only three turnovers in the past three games.

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