Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears
Sunday, 12/4/11, 1:00 PM EST, TV: CBS
Opening Point Spread: Chicago -6.5
Current Betting Line: Chicago -7
Opening Total: 37.5
Current Total: 37
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
The Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs will both be relying on backup quarterbacks in hopes of getting a victory on Sunday when they meet at Soldier Field. The Bears (7-4) have a lot more to play for at this point of the season though and have entrusted Caleb Hanie to lead them on a late-season charge for a playoff berth in place of the injured Jay Cutler.
Hanie did not play well for Chicago (-7, O/U 37) in the first half of his first career start last week at Oakland, throwing all of his three interceptions before the intermission en route to a 25-20 loss. But he finished strong against the Raiders, with 175 of his 254 passing yards coming in the fourth quarter as he attempted to rally his team back. He should benefit from the support of the home crowd that cheered him on as he tried to beat Green Bay in last year’s NFC Championship Game.
Cutler is likely out for the rest of the regular season with a fractured thumb, and he gave way to Hanie against the Packers as well with a knee injury in a 21-14 loss that kept the Bears from going to the Super Bowl after they won the NFC North. This year, they are looking to make it into the postseason as a Wild Card team, competing with Atlanta and Detroit for two spots.
The Chiefs (4-7) have a much tougher road to the playoffs and likely need to win the AFC West for the second year in a row to get in. They are three games behind Oakland and have dropped four straight following a 13-9 home loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday Night Football.
Like Chicago, Kansas City is relying on a reserve under center in second-year QB Tyler Palko. However, the team also claimed veteran Kyle Orton as insurance off waivers from Denver last week, and he has been taking reps with the first-team offense in practice this week as well. Orton was traded from the Bears to the Broncos in a trade for Cutler, and he could get the opportunity for some revenge against his former team if he can get into the game.
Palko has struggled in two previous starts since replacing the injured Matt Cassel, who broke his hand in a 17-10 home loss to Denver in Week 10. The former Pitt star has not adjusted well to the NFL so far, throwing six interceptions with no touchdown passes.
Chicago does not have the benefit of a solid reserve behind Hanie, which makes it even more critical for him to succeed. The team signed Josh McCown to back him up after they missed out on re-acquiring Orton and also passed on Donovan McNabb after he was released by Minnesota on Thursday. The Bears are 5-1 straight-up and against the spread in their last six games with the OVER cashing in each of their past four. They have alternated wins and losses with the Chiefs in the last seven meetings and won the last game between the teams 20-10 in 2007.
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