ESPN senior writer Mike Sando asks league insiders to pick winners in select games each week. Three evaluators joined the panel for Week 7. This week's games: Patriots-Bears, Vikings-Jets, Saints-Ravens, Cowboys-Redskins and Bengals-Chiefs.
Sunday: 1 p.m. ET, CBS | Point spread: NE by 3 | Insiders pick: NE (2/3)
The Patriots have allowed 40 or more points four times since the start of the 2013 season. That includes three times against Andy Reid's Kansas City Chiefs and a fourth against Doug Pederson's Philadelphia Eagles, with three of those games taking place since the start of last season.
The Reid-Pederson connection is relevant for this matchup because Bears coach Matt Nagy worked with both in Kansas City before joining Chicago this season.
"Couple that with a capable Bears defense at home and I will take Chicago," the lone insider picking an upset said.
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has nine touchdown passes with one interception in his past two starts.
"He has played well, but I still don't trust him," an insider picking the Patriots said. "I think the Bears' defense will step up a good bit, but that quarterback for New England, he's pretty good."
The Bears suffered a 31-28 defeat at Miami last week, becoming the only team to allow more than 30 points to a team featuring Brock Osweiler in the starting lineup. The jump from Osweiler to Tom Brady is obviously significant. Khalil Mack's health is a key variable. He suffered an ankle injury early in the Miami game and was not his usually productive self.
"I'm expecting New England to go after Chicago's linebackers in the passing game," the third insider said.