Two teams seeking just their third win of the season meet on Monday night when the San Diego Chargers (2-6) host the Chicago Bears (2-5). The matchup may be lacking in a bit of luster, as Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who leads the league in passing yards and has thrown 18 touchdowns, will be without his best best target, and the Bears will be missing their top rusher.
Wide receiver Keenan Allen has been a bright spot for the Chargers, but he will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a lacerated kidney against the Baltimore Ravens last week. The 23-year-old entered Week 9 ranking No. 2 in receptions (67) and No. 3 in receiving yards (725).
Rivers still has a solid group after Allen, but he is certain to miss the star wide out. Dontrelle Inman is expected to play a larger role in the receiving corps along with running back Danny Woodhead, and wide receivers Stevie Johnson and Malcom Floyd.
“We just have to step up even more," Floyd said. "[Allen] really is a one of a kind receiver who can do everything. He plays at a high level, so we have to step up more.”
The passing attack will face a Chicago defense that ranks fourth in yards allowed. But the Bears have just four interceptions this season and have allowed the fifth-most touchdowns (20).
The Chargers are looking to snap a four-game losing streak, and could use a strong effort from their defense, which is ranked No. 20 in yards allowed (362.9) and No. 27 in points against (28.4).
But San Diego's defense will battle a Chicago offense that has had struggles of their own. The Bears offense is No. 27 in total yards, and were dealt a serious blow to their running game. Running back Matt Forte, whose 767 all-purpose yards ranked No. 10 in the NFL heading into Week 9, will be sidelined with a knee injury.
"It’s not something that I look forward to doing," Forte told the Chicago Tribune. "Obviously, I want to be out on the field. That’s tough to deal with. All I can do now is work as hard as I can to get back on the field."
The Bears are expected to turn to rookie Jeremy Langford, who has 27 carries for 80 yards.
Betting Line: Chargers by 4.5 points
Over/Under: 49.5 points
Start Time: 8:30 p.m.
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Prediction: Even without Allen, the Chargers have too much offense for Chicago. The Bears offense will likely find their way into the end zone without Forte, but their defense probably can't keep them competitive on the road.
Predicted Score: San Diego over Chicago, 34-20