The Bears (0-3) host the Detroit Lions (1-2) at Soldier Field this Sunday at Noon. This is an old black and blue, Norris division slobberknocker as Chris Berman would say. Chicago is going on 31 years now since their last Super Bowl Championship. You think that is bad but how about Detroit? The Lions have never been to a Super Bowl. This season leads to Super Bowl 51 in February so, yeah, that’s not good. In fact, the Lions haven’t won an NFL Championship since 1957, when they won their 3rd NFL Championship of that decade. Talk about a dry spell. Detroit is out in the desert, panting. They are thirsting for even one drop of water. At least the Bears have won it twice since then, in 1963 and 1985.
Can the Bears win this game? The answer is yes. Will the Bears win this game? The answer is……….?
I know it looks bad right now for the Bears but the schedule really lightens up the rest of the season. Look at Chicago’s opponents’ records through Week 3 and you’ll see what I mean.
I know what you’re thinking: Boy this guy is really reaching here. You might be right, but I might be right too. It really struck me that the Bears opponents so far are a combined 7-2 (4-2 if you take away the 3 wins over Chicago). The record of remaining opponents is 19-20 with just 5 of 13 opponents having winning records. 4 of those 5 are against NFC North foes Minnesota and Green Bay. So outside of those 4 games with the Vikings and Packers, the Bears have an easy schedule. Those 9 games are against teams with a combined record of 9-18. Could the Bears win all of those games? The answer is yes. Will they win all of those games? The answer is………?
Looking at some stats on Pro Football Focus, we see that Detroit’s run defense is below average. They are 21st in rushing yards allowed. In fact, they are tied for worst in the league allowing 5.1 yards per carry. You’d think John Fox, despite his sickness this week that caused him to miss practice Wednesday, will stress to OC Dowell Loggains to run the ball. Given starting RB Jeremy Langford’s right ankle injury, the Bears should give the rock to new rookie starter Jordan Howard and even possibly to newly signed former Lion Joique Bell.
Pro Football Focus released some stats from the NFL’s Week 3 games. Their 2nd lowest rated LB was Lions MLB #59 Tahir Whitehead. They said he struggled as he missed plenty of tackles while he only made 2 tackles at Green Bay. Usually he was blocked at the second level and never made an effort to even get in on tackles. If the Bears can copy the Packers game plan and attack him in the run game, maybe they can also achieve success like Eddie Lacy who rushed for 103 yards on just 17 carries.
Keep An Eye On:
#24 RB Jordan Howard
Howard has shown flashes in the first 3 games of his career that he could be an every down back at 6’1″ 222 pounds. Coming out of Indiana (2015 stats: 1,213 rushing yards, 6.2 avg, 9 TD; 11-106-1 receiving) after transferring from UAB, Howard needs to continue his development as both a runner and a receiver. Last week at Dallas, Howard had 9 carries for 45 yards and 4 catches for 47 yards after Langford got what Fox would call an “owie”.
Chicago will get a win here one of these days, so why not this Sunday?
Bears 20 Lions 17
Bears record (0-3): Awful start but there’s still some hope, especially when Cutler and some of these other injured players return from their “owies”.
My prediction record (1-2): Not a great start in my predictions, but like the Bears, there is some hope. It’s not my first rodeo and this cowboy thinks the Bears will still get on the horse and have a successful ride.