Leading up to the regular season finale, the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions have been jawing back and forth through the media. On Sunday, both teams will have a chance to back up their talk on the field.
This game was already interesting enough for the Bears, knowing that they need this win to stay alive for the final playoff spot in the NFC. With the additional trash talk, Chicago probably has awakened a sleeping giant in the Lions, a team that has no incentive for this final game other than to play spoiler.
Both teams’ offenses are pretty much one-dimensional. The Lions have the 23rd ranked run offense in the league, and are heavily dependent on the passing combo of quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Just like Detroit, Chicago has a passing duo of their own in quarterback Jay Cutler and wide receiver Brandon Marshall.
However, what makes the Bears’ running game suspect is the recent lack of commitment to the running game by the coaching staff, and the injuries that have hit their backfield. Running backs Matt Forte and Armando Allen both suffered injuries in Chicago’s Week 16 victory.
Forte’s ankle injury probably won’t keep him from playing this weekend, but Allen’s knee injury has him listed as questionable. To add more depth to the backfield, the Bears elevated running back Harvey Unga from the practice squad to the 53-man roster.
Chicago’s defense reverted to their ball-hawking ways last week by scoring two defensive touchdowns, and will be looking to do the same in Detroit. As for the Lions’ defense, they will have to find a way to keep the Cutler-Marshall connection in check with the possibility of two of their best defensive backs sidelined.
Though the trash talking may make this matchup even more interesting, the fact that the Bears will be fighting for the continuation of their season and possibly the job of their head coach will be the difference in this game.
Prediction: Bears 20, Lions 13
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