The Chicago Bears (4-9) travel to Detroit, Michigan to take on the Detroit Lions (7-6) on Saturday in Week 15 of NFL action. Last time these foes met was at Soldier Field in Week 11 with Detroit winning a tight affair 27-24. That was the game in which Lions K Matt Prater nailed a 52 yarder with 1:35 remaining and then Bears K Connor Barth missed the potential game-tying 46 yarder in the closing seconds to give the Lions the victory. The next day Chicago cut Barth.
Since then, both teams have lost 2 of 3 games. This is an important game for Detroit if they want a shot at this year’s NFC Playoffs. They close with home vs Chicago, at Cincinnati, and home vs Green Bay.
The Bears meanwhile are just playing out the string, trying to develop young players and get better. Last week was a fun game to watch for Bears fans as they dominated Cincinnati 33-7. So what will happen tomorrow in Detroit?
Bears offense vs Lions defense
According to the NFL yardage stats, the Bears offense is 30th (out of 32 teams) in total offense, 32nd in passing, 7th in rushing, and 29th in scoring at 17.2 ppg. Aikman’s Efficiency Ratings (AER) has the Bears rated as the 24th best offense. Rookie QB #10 Mitch Trubisky showed a lot of growth last week, albeit against an injury depleted Bengals defense. Can he keep it up in a rematch game? This will be the young QB’s first time facing a team for the 2nd time. What adjustments will he make? Will he show more improvement?
The Lions defense is 27th in total defense, 27th against the pass, 20th against the run, and 28th in scoring defense at 25.3 ppg allowed. AER has the Lions defense rated as the 22nd best defense in the NFL. That’s very mediocre, at best.
Let’s call it a push but once again there is one stat that stands out. Chicago can run the ball, 7th best in the NFL. EDGE: PUSH
Bears defense vs Lions offense
Bears defense is 11th overall in the NFL yardage rankings, 9th against the pass, 14th against the run, and 14th in points allowed at 21.1 ppg. AER has Chicago’s D as the 7th best! The Bears defense has been up and down but played awesome last week at Cincinnati. What does it all mean? Who knows! On any given Sunday…..
Meanwhile, the Lions offense is 14th overall, 4th in passing, 32nd in rushing, and 5th in scoring at 26.0 ppg. Led by superstar QB #9 Matt Stafford, Detroit has an excellent passing game. However, their rushing offense is non-existent. Nonetheless, it translates to points. They are 5th in scoring. AER has the Lions as the 17th best offense in the NFL. That means the Aikman ratings don’t think their offense is as good as the stats indicate.
Another tough matchup to examine but I think the Bears can hang with the Lions in this road matchup. SLIGHT EDGE: Chicago defense
Watch Out For………..
LB #59 Danny Trevathan – Danny was quoted on Wednesday at Halas Hall as saying that the Bears “want to be the Grinch this year” in regards to their final 3 games. Chicago also plays at Minnesota in the season finale which may or may not be important to the Vikings playoff hopes or seeding. So can Trevathan get pumped and play a great game against a Lions offense that is missing 2 starters on their offensive line? Will he and the Bears pass-rushers record any sacks of Matt Stafford? Look for DC Vic Fangio to call for Trevathan to be sent on a couple of ILB delayed blitzes in hopes that the Lions OL is confused. Trevathan is 2nd on the team in tackles with 72 despite missing 4 games this year. In the 9 games he did play, Danny has recorded at least 10 tackles in 5 of them. He also has 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FR, and 4 PBU’s this year. I bet that Trevathan has a largely productive day on Saturday.
Surprisingly, AER has the Bears at 16th overall (despite a 4-9 record) while the Lions are 20th (7-6 record). However, Detroit is favored by 5.5 points as of Friday’s Chicago Tribune. They are at home in Ford Field. They have something to play for, a possible playoff appearance, most likely a wild card spot since the NFC North leading Minnesota Vikings are 10-3, which means their magic number is 1. The Bears have already been eliminated so they might be playing out the string, so to speak.
The “Dutch Lion” believes this is a toss-up game. Detroit isn’t much better than Chicago, if at all. But the Lions have the confidence of a 7-6 record and the fact they haven’t been eliminated yet. Does that put added pressure on Stafford and company? Does that give the Bears a looseness needed to be victorious?
For the 2nd week in a row, I know what you’re thinking………bottom line me “Dutch”! The “Dutch Lion” is calling for a close game. Who will win? It’s anyone’s guess. He’ll call it a Bears victory against the spread (ATS) but a Detroit victory straight up (S/U).
Detroit Lions 23 Chicago Bears 22