Cardinals vs Bears Week 13 Picks and Predictions: Healthy Birds Ready to Soar

Arizona is rested coming off a bye week, and finally getting healthy. With Kyler Murray back in tow, is there any hope for Chicago to compete with the NFC's best? Find out as we break down the matchup with our Cardinals vs. Bears picks.

Last Updated: Dec 3, 2021 7:10 PM ET Read Time: 5 min
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The Chicago Bears finally snapped their five-game losing skid, and Matt Nagy is still in charge, but facing the top-seeded Arizona Cardinals who are coming off the bye and getting healthy this weekend sounds like a losing cause. Kyler Murray was limited on Wednesday but is expected to suit up with the Cards sitting as 7.5-point road favorites and a total of 44.5. 

Can Murray and DeAndre Hopkins return to full strength and help maintain the top spot in the NFC? Can Andy Dalton and this offense find any success against a Cardinals defense that ranks No. 2 in EPA/play? Find out in our free NFL picks and predictions between the Cardinals vs. Bears On Sunday, December 5. 

Cardinals vs Bears odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Arizona was listed as 7-point favorites on the look-ahead but opened up at -7.5 Sunday night. That spread hit -8 at some books but has stayed relatively stable at -7.5. The total has tumbled to 44.5 (44 at some places) after being listed at 46.5 on the look-ahead.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Cardinals vs Bears predictions

Predictions made on 12/02/2021 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Cardinals vs Bears game info

Location: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
Date: Sunday, December 5, 2021
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

Cardinals at Bears betting preview


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Key injuries

Cardinals: Andy Isabella WR (Out), Trace McSorley QB (Out), Justin Pugh OG (Out), Jace Whittaker CB (Out), James Wiggins S (Out), Chase Edmonds RB (Out).
Bears: Justin Fields QB (Out), Allen Robinson WR (Out), Mario Edwards DT (Out), Marquise Goodwin WR (Out), Akiem Hicks DT (Out), Damien Williams RB (Out), Teez Tabor CB (Out), Khalil Mack LB (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 7-0 in the Cardinals’ last seven games as a road favorite. Find more NFL betting trends for Cardinals vs. Bears.

Cardinals vs Bears picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

The Arizona Cardinals come out of their bye with the top spot in the NFC at 9-2 and managed to weather the storm without QB Kyler Murray, as the club went 2-1 SU in his absence. Well, Murray is looking like a go for Sunday versus the Bears despite a limited practice on Wednesday and could possibly have receiver DeAndre Hopkins back as well. The WR was limited Wednesday and has been out since Week 8.

Even if Hopkins’ role is minimal, Murray still has a ton of weapons at his disposal and will control one of the NFL’s most efficient passing games. Arizona ranks 24th in passes per game but leads the league in yards per pass attempt at 8.5. The Chicago defense is coming off a game where it allowed Jared Goff to set a season-high completion percentage after the below-replacement QB finished 21 for 25 in the Thanksgiving Day game.

Arizona is still a run-first team, and even without Chase Edmonds, still ranks fourth in the league in rushes per game. James Conner is averaging 22 rushes in Edmonds’ absence and is putting up 113 total yards per game while sitting second in the league in rushing TDs. He isn’t a sexy runner, but he’s getting it done. 

One of the biggest advantages Arizona has is the defensive passing game and the pass rush. Andy Dalton is a slight improvement over Justin Fields in Chicago’s passing attack, but the Cards rank No. 1 in EPA/play vs. the pass. They also have a pass rush that could make things uncomfortable for the Red Rocket if Arizona gets up and forces Nagy to go pass-heavy.

No team has allowed more sacks than the Bears, and although Justin Fields has taken plenty of those, if Dalton struggles to get the ball out quickly, he could see plenty of Chandler Jones and Markus Golden, who have a combined 18 sacks on the year. 

The best way to beat the Cardinals is on the ground, but if Murray and the offense can score early and get the Bears playing from behind, Nagy might have to move away from the most optimal game plan. 

The Bears were lucky to win in Week 12 and have irony to thank for the victory. They lost to a backup QB in Week 11 who had zero first-team reps and lost by 10 or more points in three of their four games before that. Murray is 3-0 ATS in games of spreads at -6 this season (not including the GB game where he was injured) while the Bears are 1-3 ATS in games where they are getting seven or more points.  

It’s not often we’ll lay 7.5 points in a game featuring a total of just 44.5 points, but things could get ugly for Nagy and the Bears if they start playing from behind.

Prediction: Cardinals -7.5 (-110)

With Murray under center, the Arizona offense averaged 30.75 points per game, but expecting this offense to revert to pre-injury performances isn’t what we’re doing this week. We’re putting our trust in the Arizona defense that will be rested and ready to attack a Chicago offense that is being run by a back-up QB and a fringe NFL coach.

We could potentially see both teams coming out and running the ball a ton. The Cardinals are one of the heaviest run-first teams and have no problem trotting out Conner for 4.0 yards per carry and eating the clock, while Nagy would be smart to run the ball against Arizona’s No. 24 rush defense per success rate.

But if Dalton is asked to sustain long drives versus the Arizona defense, a single offensive penalty or, more likely, a sack, could put this offense into third and longs, which is not its forte. The Cardinals defense ranks third in the league in defensive drive score percentage at 29.7%. The league’s 29th-ranked scoring offense will struggle to get big plays and sustain drives Sunday versus the Cardinals.

Murray will also be scaled back from his usual aggressive self, as coach Kliff Kingsbury will likely do everything in his power to keep his QB healthy for a playoff run. This could mean some bigger offensive sets, more protection, and possibly fewer dropbacks. This was already an efficient offense and should dominate time of possession versus a Chicago offense that is averaging 44% TOP over its last three games (27th).

In the three games that Dalton has started, the Bears have scored five TDs, but one of those was an INT returned for a TD and another was a Justin Fields rushing TD. This offense managed just a single TD versus the Lions and was lucky to even score 16 points. 

Prediction: Under 44.5 (-110)

Kingsbury is 0-2 SU out of the bye in his short NFL tenure but that changes this week. The Bears are looking at the schedule and may just want to skip Weeks 13 and 14 as they play the NFC’s Top-2 seeds in Arizona and Green Bay. This is just a bad matchup for the Chicago offense that will be playing into its opponent’s defensive strengths if Nagy & Co. are forced to pass.

The Cardinals are elite at defending the pass, and with Cole Kmet not practicing this week yet, Dalton could be without one of his favorite targets, with Allen Robinson also questionable. The Bears give up more sacks than any other team in football and face a defense that averages 1.7 takeaways per game. We could see some QB hits or some turnovers if Dalton starts facing a lot of pressure.

Arizona has a ton of weapons on offense, and even if Murray isn’t at 100 percent, Kingsbury is creative enough to get the ball into his best players’ hands. Whether that’s Hopkins, Rondale Moore, Christian Kirk, A.J. Green, Zach Ertz or Conner, Chicago is going to have its hands full defensively this week after almost losing to a Detroit team filled with replacement-level players.

Pick: Cardinals -7.5 (-110)

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