12/5/21: Bears vs. Cardinals: Picks, props and three things to know

The NFC's leading team comes to Soldier Field.

Kyler Murray Arizona Cardinals Chicago Bears
(USA Today Sports)

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And congrats to the Northern Illinois Huskies on their latest MAC championship. It's nice to see someone lifting a football trophy around here ...

Cardinals (9-2) at Bears (4-7)

⏰ : Noon  📺 :Fox
🎙️ : Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Shannon Spake
💰 : Bears +7.5, O/U 42.5

Last week: The Bears escaped with a win over the Lions on Thanksgiving. The Cardinals enjoyed a bye after a win over Seattle in Week 12.

All-time record: The Bears lead 57-28-6.

Last meeting: The Bears won a 16-14 contest on a fourth-quarter field goal by Cody Parkey in 2018.

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Three things to know

(USA Today Sports)

By Brendan Sugrue

The Bears went through a tough stretch of their schedule earlier this season and now they're about to enter another one. The 9-2 Arizona Cardinals come to town and are rested off a bye week. They'll likely see the return of MVP-caliber quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to take on a reeling Bears team. The Bears, meanwhile, will be playing without Justin Fields, who still hasn't been medically cleared to play. What could possibly go wrong?

Arizona has a lot to play for as they're vying for the top seed in the NFC, a spot that will be given the only bye in the expanded playoffs. Can a depleted Bears team play spoilers and keep their minimal playoff chances alive?

Here are three things to know heading into the game:

1. This series favors the road team

Credit to Tom Waddle of the "Waddle and Silvy" show on ESPN 1000 for this nugget. Since 2006 when the Bears stunned the Cardinals in Glendale in the famous "Monday Night Miracle" game, the road team has come away victorious in each meeting. Since then, the Bears and Cardinals have played five games, and the home team hasn't won in any of them.

History doesn't necessarily say that trend will continue since both teams have changed quite a bit since their last matchup in 2018. But the Cardinals are undefeated on the road this season at 6-0. They arrive at Soldier Field healthier than they've been in weeks — it could be another win for the road team on Sunday.

2. The "Fire Nagy" chants are coming

Have you heard the hottest track of the holiday season yet? It's a simple tune that's being played at sporting events across the state of Illinois, from professional basketball games to high school playoff matchups. It's the "Fire Nagy" chant that fans have been yelling over the last few weeks. It began at Soldier Field two weeks ago and will be back louder than ever the second things go awry during the game.

In all seriousness, it's incredible how much this movement has grown and it's gotten the attention of Bears players, who aren't too fond of the chant. But aside from empty seats in the stadium, it's a clear way to send a message to Bears ownership about what fans think of the current team. A better chant might be "sell the team" but we may have to wait until the next album for that single to drop.

3. Rodney Adams will likely play his first NFL game since 2017

Let's be honest: Justin Fields and many other top Bears will be on the sideline. So there's not a whole lot to look forward to with this game. But let's focus on a positive and that's wide receiver Rodney Adams. You might remember Adams from the preseason when he became a fan favorite for his incredible performances and inspirational story.

Adams had 161 yards and a touchdown in three preseason games, but was part of the final cutdowns before the regular season and was placed on the practice squad. But with injuries to Allen Robinson and Marquise Goodwin, Adams was called up to the active roster and will likely play in his first NFL regular-season game since 2017. He's still looking for his first reception, though, so seeing that would be the cherry on top.


Kevin Kaduk — Midway Minute (7-4)
Cardinals 31, Bears 10
"The Andy Dalton-led Bears offense could barely score indoors against the Lions defense. I doubt they'll be able to in a December game at Soldier Field."

Scott Koral — Midway Minute (9-2)
Cardinals 27, Bears 6
"Cards are getting healthy at the right time. An anemic Bears offense will aid in Arizona’s momentum."

Brendan Sugrue — Midway Minute (10-1)
Cardinals 24, Bears 17
"My gut is BEGGING me to pick the Bears in this one. A hobbled Kyler on Soldier Field's poor turf in rainy weather? The upset is there for the taking. But they'll find a way to keep it close enough and lose it in the end."

David Brown — Midway Minute (6-5)
Cardinals 27, Bears 20
"The Cardinals say Kyler Murray is a game-time decision. Well, that’s also how the Bears play calling usually looks, so it evens out. It would have been fun to see Murray and Justin Fields duel it out, but we're not lucky enough to see that matchup."

Maggie Hendricks — Bally Sports (8-3)
Cardinals 31, Bears 9
"Look, the Cardinals have run through much better teams than the Bears without Kyler Murray. With or without him, it’s still going to be ugly for the team we still follow for some reason."

Alyssa Barbieri — Midway Minute (10-1)
Cardinals 34, Bears 16
"The Bears’ ugliest game this season was the blowout loss to the Buccaneers. And, honestly, this game could be even uglier, which doesn’t bode well for Matt Nagy with this Soldier Field crowd just waiting to chant “Fire Nagy.”

Chris Maltby — Beared Down (8-3)
Cardinals 31, Bears 17
"The Red Rifle doesn’t have enough magic left to take down the conference-leading Cards."

Usayd Koshul — Fireside Bears (8-3)
Cardinals 31, Bears 16
"The Bears can’t get it done in a game where evaluating the offensive line is the only real reason to watch against the well-oiled machine that is the Arizona Cardinals."

Greg Braggs Jr. — Braggs in the Stands (9-2)
Cardinals 28, Bears 21
"Bears simply do not have enough on both sides of the ball vs. the best team in the NFC."

Three interesting prop bet picks

No Cardinals numbers had been posted at the time of this email, so not completely feeling this week. All three are listed in order of confidence. - K.K.

  1. David Montgomery OVER 80.5 RECEIVING and RUSHING yards (-115): The Cardinals defense is stout, but this number seems low for a good RB who's playing on an offense without a lot of options — and on a rainy day.
  2. Cardinals OVER 2.5 touchdowns (-150): This one won't be pretty.
  3. Jimmy Graham ANYTIME TD (+600): Graham got his first TD catch of the season on Thanksgiving and this game has meaningless Graham TD written all over it.

Beer recommendation of the week

Minted by Hop Butcher

Full disclosure: My past week was crazy and I didn't get a chance to get out and chase Hop Butcher's holiday stout offering, which uses real Frango mint oil. But Axios Chicago's Monica Eng liked it and so did our pal Josh Noel from the Chicago Tribune. There are few breweries I'd trust to present a sweet and classic Chicago flavor within a beer, but Hop Butchere is at the top of the list. Can't wait to get my hands on a can or two.

The worst celebrity Cardinals fan

While I like to poke fun of most people in this feature, I can still have respect for their collective body of work. Not so with Shelton. We're talking about a guy with such limited creative talent that he had to resort to rhyming "fajitas" with "margaritas" in a hit song. Yes, I've pointed this out a time or two before, but I don't think I'll ever get over it. Also, I've always been Team Miranda.

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