Week seven’s Monday Night Football match up will feature two the NFL‘s historic teams when the Detroit Lions head to Solider Field to take on the NFC North rivals the Chicago Bears in what should be a terrific game between one team with an explosive offense and another team who has a defense who can points on the scoreboard with the best of them.
The Lions are coming off a much needed 26-23 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Eagles last week which improved their record to a still disappointing 2-3 mark, while the Bears are coming off of a bye week with a very healthy 4-1 record looking to improve their first place positioning atop the division.
The Lions enter the game still trying to get all of the affairs in order even following last week’s win and they start by cutting down the amount of points they allow. Detroit is allowing 27.4 points per game this season which is 24th in the league and they will be facing a team in Chicago who is second in the league in points scored per game with 29.8.
As far as yardage allowed on the defensive side of the ball, the Lions aren’t too bad allowing just 324 yards per game (9th in NFL), 227.6 passing yards per game (16th) and 96.4 rushing yards per game (11th). Defensive linemen Cliff Avril (3.5 sacks this season) and Ndamukong Suh (2.5 sacks) must find a way to get into the Chicago backfield and keep pressure on Jay Cutler (who has been sacked 14 times this season) and not allow running backs Matt Forte and Michael Bush to really have big games. Cutler (1,209 yards, 7 TD, 7 INT and completed 57.7% of his attempts this season) will be looking for his two favorite targets wideouts Brandon Marshall and rookie Alshon Jefferey to make plays and keep this offense rolling en route to a victory.
Things will truly get interesting when the Bears defense faces off with the Lions offense, as both of these units are amongst the top of the league in producing points and yardage. Chicago’s defense is tied for first in the NFL in touchdowns this season with five, and their 13 interceptions for 288 yards also both rank first in the league while Detroit’s offense is ranked second in both yards gained per game (419.6 yards) and passing yards gained per game (319.8 yards) as well as 11th in points scored per game (25.2 points).
Matthew Stafford is going to have to be more efficient this week than he has all season, otherwise the Bears defense will take advantage of each and every mistake that he makes. So far this season Stafford has passed for an impressive 1,493 yards, but he has thrown for four touchdowns while tossing five picks. Calvin Johnson (35 receptions for 558 yards and a TD this season) and Brandon Pettigrew (26 receptions for 261 yards and a TD) will be the focal points of his pass attempts, and the Chicago secondary will try to key on those two and take them away, which is a whole lot easier said than done.
The Lions’ sluggish running game (99.8 yards per game, 19th in NFL) needs to get it in gear but this probably wouldn’t be the ideal week to do so, as the Bears own the number one rushing defense in the NFL allowing just 65.8 yards on the ground per game, which means it may be all on Stafford and the air attack.
The Lions need this game badly, but I just don’t see the Bears losing this game at all so in the end I think Chicago comes out victorious behind their strong defense and a big game from Cutler.
Chicago 27- Detroit 23.