After last week’s disaster against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field, the Chicago Bears (3-6) return to the scene of the crime. This time, a different NFC North rival invades the lakefront, the Detroit Lions (5-4). I’ve gotta believe the old maxim holds true: You’re never as good as you think and you’re never as bad as you think. Let’s analyze this matchup so we can envision what will happen this Sunday.
Bears offense vs Lions defense
According to the NFL yardage stats, the Bears offense is 29th in total offense, 31st in passing, 9th in rushing, and 28th in scoring at 16.7 ppg. Aikman’s Efficiency Ratings (AER) has the Bears rated as the 28th best offense. Chicago has the 5th most giveaways in the league too.
The Lions defense is 22nd in total defense, 25th against the pass, 10th against the run, and 21st in scoring defense at 23.3 ppg allowed. AER has the Lions defense rated as the 11th best defense in the NFL. Aikman’s rating has the Lions defense much better than their NFL ranking! I believe it’s largely due to their ability to gain takeaways. Detroit is 2nd in the NFL with 18 takeaways.
Even though the Bears can run the ball, the Lions have a solid rushing defense. Add in the takeaways and the Lions have a clear advantage on this side of the ball. EDGE: Detroit defense
Bears defense vs Lions offense
Bears defense is 9th overall in the NFL yardage rankings, 10th against the pass, 15th against the run, and 13th in points allowed at 21.6 ppg. AER has Chicago’s D at 10th.
Lions offense is 15th overall, 8th in passing, 29th in rushing, and 6th in scoring at 27.1 ppg. AER has the Lions as the 17th rated offense. I think Matt Stafford has really improved the last couple of years now that Calvin Johnson is retired. It’s almost as if his security blanket is gone and he had to improve in his overall game in order to succeed. Stafford worked hard and he indeed got better. He’s thrown for 2461 yards with a 63% completion percentage. He has 17 TD and just 5 INT. His passer rating is 96.3, which is 10th in the NFL. Stafford is 4th in passing yards and 6th in TD passes. However, Stafford has also been sacked 30 times, 3rd most in the NFL.
This matchup is quite even. Even though Stafford and the Lions are solid, so are the Bears……usually, except for last week against Green Bay. SLIGHT EDGE: Chicago defense
Watch Out For……….
The Running Backs – How will the Bears staff utilize the RB’s this week? How many touches will #24 Jordan Howard, #29 Tarik Cohen, and #30 Benny Cunningham each receive? After only getting two touches last week, I expect Cohen to get plenty more chances this week. Those screen passes should be going to Cohen rather than Cunningham. Howard is good and they need to use him more. Detroit gave up over 200 rushing yards last week to Cleveland so look for Chicago to focus on the running game.
The Dutch Lion (not to be confused with the Detroit Lions) might be nuts but I gotta believe the Bears are better than they showed this past week. In a second consecutive home game against a division rival, I fully expect Chicago to rebound. The Aikman Ratings have the Lions at 15th overall while the Bears are 22nd overall.
I predict the Bears will have a strong game running the football. Chicago averages over 120 yards rushing yards per game. Detroit gives up about 102 ypg on the ground, but gave up 201 last week to Cleveland. Look for a minimum of 130 yards rushing for Chicago. In fact, I think it’ll be about 150 yards.
I predict Chicago will sack Stafford at least 3 times, possible even 4 or 5 sacks. Look for #96 Akiem Hicks and #94 Leonard Floyd to have big games.
Detroit is favored by 3 points as of Thursday’s Chicago Tribune. I’ll go ahead and pick an upset. Like we wrote in our intro, “You’re never as good as you think and you’re never as bad as you think”. Just when you thought the Bears stunk, they’ll probably surprise us with a solid performance. PICK Chicago!
Chicago Bears 16 Detroit Lions 13