The Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears will meet for the 165th time ever on Monday night.
The Bears lead the all-time series 94-65-5. Last season, they split the season series with Detroit winning the first game 24-13 in Week Five and Chicago winning the second game 37-13 in Week Ten.
The Bears are coming off a bye week and are currently on a three-game winning streak outscoring opponents 98-27 during that span.
The Lions are coming off a big 26-23 road win over the Eagles. At 2-3, Detroit sits at the bottom of the NFC North, but they seem to be getting things going right now.
This game should be intense considering the battle that has been brewing as of late between these two teams.
The Bears are 5-3 under Lovie Smith in games coming off a bye week. They’re 5-1 in their last six games against the Lions.
The next three weeks the Bears play games that arguably very winnable. After Monday night’s clash with the Lions they will host the Panthers and then they will travel to Tennessee to play the Titans.
The Bears have to make sure they stay focused because the Packers (3-3) and Vikings (4-2) are right in the thick of things in the NFC North.
The Lions are a very talented team who could easily turn their season around on Monday night.
The Bears have allowed the least amount of points per game in the NFL (14.2) and have scored the second most points per game (29.8).
The Lions on the other hand are 24th in points allowed per game (27.4) and are 11th in points scored per game (25.2).
Bears’ WR Alshon Jeffery has been ruled out with a fractured right hand. CB Sherrick McManis has been limited all week with a hip injury and is questionable for the game. Recently signed Zackary Bowman will take McManis’s spot on special team’s if he can’t go.
WR Devin Hester has been dealing with a quad injury, while LB Blake Costanzo has been battling a broken thumb. Both players are practicted fully this week and will play against Detroit.
The Lions have some key injuries in their secondary. Cornerback Jacob Lacey has been ruled out with a concussion and his backup Bill Bentley has been limited in practice this week with a shoulder injury. Bentley is considered doubtful.
Another key injury for the Lions’ defense is defensive tackle Corey Williams, who has been battling through a knee injury. He has two sacks on the season and his absence on the defensive line could really derail this unit.
The Bears will win if?
The Bears will win if they can take advantage of the cornerback opposite of Chris Houston. Rookie Jonte Green and veteran Alphonso Smith will likely split time against the Bears second receiver, either Devin Hester or Earl Bennett. Jay Cutler needs to turn Detroit’s lack of depth at cornerback into points for the Bears’ offense. Running the ball won’t be easy against this ferocious defensive line of the Lions.
The Bears will lose if?
The Bears will lose if they get out of character early. We saw in the first two games, offensive coordinator Mike Tice run play action on the first two plays of the game and those plays didn’t really pan out. The Bears need to stick with what they do well. They need to run to set up the pass. If they can’t do that successfully then they likely won’t win the time of possession battle which would likely lead to a loss.
Players Who Must Step Up:
1. Brian Urlacher- He is sixth on the defense with 20 tackles and is coming off almost two weeks of rest for his surgically repaired left knee. He hasn’t been the same player so far this season. He has played second fiddle to Lance Briggs and even Nick Roach at times. But I think this is the week when Urlacher finally shines because of the rest he has gotten for his knee. He has 21 interceptions in his career. Look for him to reel in his 22nd on Monday night.
Prediction: Six tackles, one interception.
2. Earl Bennett- He’s coming back from an bruised hand. He will be called upon to have a big game considering rookie Alshon Jeffery’s absence. He has been the most dependable receiver for Cutler the last three seasons. He struggled in the Green Bay game in Week Two, but he has had plenty of time to get back into the swing of things as of late. Bennett should be steady in this one.
Prediction: Five catches, 67 yards.
3. Tim Jennings- After reeling in four interceptions over the first three games, Jennings has no interceptions in the last two games. He has 11 tackles and one pass deflection in those two games. He isn’t expected to make big plays every week, but I think he is due for a breakout game after being quiet as of late. Look for Jennings to be pumped up after a long break during the bye week.
Prediction: Eight tackles, one interception.
The key matchup on Monday night will be in the battle of the trenches. The Bears’ offensive line against the Lions’ defensive line.
The Bears’ offensive line has to protect Cutler or he could be in for a long night. The Lions’ defensive line has a trio of impressive linemen, Avril, Suh and Vanden Bosch. They can all make big plays on their own.
Winning the battle of the trenches will be the key for a Chicago Bears victory against NFC North rival Detroit.
Final score predictions
Jake Perper: Chicago Bears 27, Detroit Lions 17.
Matt Eurich: Chicago Bears 28, Detroit Lions 24.
Weather.com Weather Report:
Monday night, showers likely and a slight chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 60′s. Chance of precipitation: 60 percent.
Don’t forget about the Bears Backer/Chitown Clothing Chicago Bears T-shirt Giveaway. There are three weeks left which means three more shirts will be given out.