NFL Free Picks: Chicago Bears vs. Miami Dolphins 11/18/10

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The Miami Dolphins will look to avoid a second straight NFL betting defeat at home against a divisional rival when they take on the Chicago Bears on MNF.

Matchup: Chicago Bears @ Miami Dolphins
Date: Thursday, November 18th, 8:20 ET
Location: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL
Game Line: Miami -1
Over/Under 39.5

Bears Notes: Everyone who thinks that the Bears are legitimate Super Bowl contenders, say "aye!" Hmm… The only voice that I just heard was my own… Most don't believe in this Chicago team, but with each passing week, I'm starting to buy in more and more. Don't get me wrong… I hate QB Jay Cutler just like the rest of you, because I know that he is capable of throwing six picks every single time he takes the field. And sure, I know that this running game is a nightmare, not so much because of RB Matt Forte, but because of an offensively line that thinks that "block" is a four letter curse word. However, I look around at the talent on this team, and I see speedsters like WR Johnny Knox, explosive athletes like WR/PR/KR Devin Hester, and I see a defense that is really darn right good. LB Brian Urlacher wasn't on this defense for the majority of last year due to injury, but now that he is back and DE Julius Peppers has been added to the bunch, this unit is just lethal. No, Peppers isn't the sack machine that he was with the Carolina Panthers, but there is no doubting the fact that he has been a disruptive force in opposing backfields all season long and can still do things that most other ends in this league don't stand a chance at. Did you know that the Bears were second in the NFL in rush defense at a shade over 80 yards per game? Or that no one has scored more than 23 points against them this year? Or that they are second in the league in scoring defense? Or that they have only lost to one team by more than three points? If you just take a second to analyze what Chicago has done this year instead of what it hasn't done, you'll see just how strong this team is, particularly in a very, very weak division.

Dolphins Notes: And yet, so many people are trusting a man named QB Tyler Thigpen to lay points at home in a nationally televised game, four days after becoming the team's starting quarterback by default. Not only is Thigpen being thrust into this situation, but he is going to end up playing the whole way unless he gets hurt because no one else that is healthy is going to know the offense. Sure, the possibility is there that QB Chad Henne could be ready for this one, but many are excited by the way that Thigpen played against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon to help seal up the team's first home win of the season. Don't get enamored with these numbers that Thigpen put up in his days as the starting quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs. Yes, he threw for 2,608 yards and accounted for a total of 21 TDs in 11 starts, but he also only completed 54.8 percent of his passes and was cut because he couldn't lead the team to victories. There's probably a reason that the other 31 GMs across the NFL had no interest in even making Thigpen a backup quarterback. Worse for Miami is the rushing game that is going against the best rush defense this side of the Pittsburgh Steelers. RB Ronnie Brown is coming off of a game in which he rushed for 11 yards on 12 carries against a Titans' 'D' that really isn't all that great. He only has 444 yards on the turf this year, which leaves him nowhere near on a pace for 1,000 yards on the campaign. RB Ricky Williams hasn't done much better. The defense? Giving up a modest 21.3 points per game and has been torched for an average of 28.0 points per game on the year at home.

The Final Word: Just don't fall into the trap this week with your NFL picks. It looks so easy to just lay that short point with the Fins, but don't do it! Chicago really does have the significantly better team, and even though this one is on the road, we still trust Cutler (goodness help us) a lot more than we do a third string quarterback, even if he is the best third stringer in the entire NFL. Back the Monsters of the Midway for the mild upset.

Free Pro Football Picks: Chicago +1
Prediction: Chicago 20 – Miami 13

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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