The Detroit Lions face off against the Chicago Bears this Thanksgiving. They desperately need to win to keep their post season hopes alive. The NFC is very tough again this season and, like Arizona last year, a 10-6 team could miss the playoffs due to a poor division. Last season the NFC North was the poor division. This year it is the NFC South. Regardless, the Lions looked good all year and hit a speed bump with back to back games against the best teams in the AC and NFC. They lost both as expected, but still could make a push. They need to win all three home games for a chance at a playoff spot, and could need to win at least one of the last two road games. Do they have what it takes to beat the Bears and get back on track?
- Detroit Lions Offensive Line vs. Chicago Bears Defensive Line – The Chicago Bears defensive line is a very solid unit. They are led by former Detroit Lion Willie Young and his 8 sacks. As a unit, they have 21 sacks on the season. That is not a good sign for a Detroit Lions offensive line that has struggled all year. Add to that the likeliness that they will be without left tackle Riley Reiff and they are already missing right guard Larry Warford. This match up looks brutal for the Lions. Edge Bears
- Detroit Lions Tight Ends vs. Chicago Bears Linebackers – The Detroit Lions are clearly pushing forward with Eric Ebron as their tight end. That means players like Joseph Fauria and Brandon Pettigrew will likely be non-factors. While Ebron is expecting to be the future, the Lions are in win now mode and need to play their best players. Regardless, none of their tight ends have shown that they deserver the edge over anyone. Edge None
- Detroit Lions Wide Receivers vs. Chicago Bears Secondary – The Lions have better receivers than the Bears have corners and safeties. They have shown that every year against them. The only player the Bears had that would neutralize the Lions was Charles Tillman. Tillman is done for the year so Calvin Johnson will likely draw double coverage. That leaves Tate to run free and for the Lions, that is a best case scenario. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Running Backs vs. Chicago Bears Run Defense – Detroit has traditionally run the ball well against the Bears defense. Unfortunately, this season the Lions run game has been awful. I do not expect Reggie Bush to play this week and Joique Bell is not the type of back that can exploit this defense. The Bears though have allowed an average of 106 yards rushing per game so I expect Detroit to try to run against them. Edge Bears
- Detroit Lions Quarterbacks vs. Chicago Bears Pass Defense – Matthew Stafford has been terrible. He should not get an advantage over anyone. The reason he gets one here is that the Lions have Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate lined up against Kyle Fuller (a rookie) and Tim Jennings. They have allowed a lot of passing yards and their scoring defense is among the worst in the NFL. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Defensive Line vs. Chicago Bears Offensive Line – Despite struggling to get pressure the last two weeks, the Detroit Lions defensive line is the lifeblood of this defense. When they play well, the whole defense plays well. Detroit faces an offensive line that has struggled to contain Detroit’s defensive line in the past few years. I do not see any improvements to that unit that leads me to believe they will contain Detroit. I expect constant pressure on Jay Cutler all game and a few sacks. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Linebackers vs. Chicago Bears Tight Ends – Martellus Bennett gets a lot of passes thrown his way. Detroit’s linebackers did a great job of slowing down Rob Gronkowski last week, but Bennett should get free. With over 600 receiving yards already this season, I expect he will get close to 100 yards Thursday. Edge Bears
- Detroit Lions Secondary vs. Chicago Bears Wide Receivers – The Chicago Bears have very good receivers. Brandon Marshall and Ashlon Jeffery are two of the best in the league. They are having a poor season this year so far with Jeffery at 783 and Marshall at 618. By comparison, Calvin Johnson is almost at 600 and he’s missed several games due to injury. While they are top flight receivers, I think Detroit’s secondary has proven up to the task. The only concern is if they get a quick start this week or not. Either way, I see the Lions secondary as a primary reason this team has a chance this week Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Run Defense vs. Chicago Bears Running Backs – The Lions have the best run defense in the NFL allowing 70.7 yards rushing per game. They contained New England pretty well, keeping them under 100 yards. Matt Forte is a good running back. He is probably one of the best Detroit has seen this season. Still, this run defense has been too good to not give them the definitive edge here. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Pass Defense vs. Chicago Bears Quarterbacks – This is the wild card match up right here, quite literally. Detroit needs to win to have a chance at a wild card spot in the playoffs. Jay Cutler has been very erratic all season. He has looked real bad at times. The Lions defense has forced interceptions at a pretty good rate so far. If they can contain the big play like they have all season, and if Cutler plays like, well like Cutler, this could get ugly for Bears fans. Edge Lions
- This is a poor match up for both teams. Chris Williams has shown promise for the Bears, but so has Jeremy Ross for the Lions. Neither one has been the consistent threat needed for a solid edge here. Without Devin Hester, the Bears do not strike fear in opponents in the return game anymore. Until Ross gets it going, I cant give the Lions an edge here. Edge None
Lions 6 Bears 3
The Lions have lost two straight against 2 of the NFL’s best teams. Their offense has been non-existent so far. The best cure for an ailing offense is a poor defense which is exactly what Detroit faces here Thursday. The Bears offense has struggled as welll as their defense. While they have played better lately, it was against Minnesota and Tampa Bay so that is not saying a lot. I expect Detroit to play better football, and they will rise to the occasion, saving their playoff hopes.
Detroit Lions 20 Chicago Bears 13