2014 Week 16 Preview Detroit Lions Versus Chicago Bears




It seems like just yesterday the Detroit Lions were cruising to a victory over the Chicago Bears.    The Bears have played terrible football since then.  Detroit has a chance to seal up a playoff spot with a win this Sunday against the Bears.  Chicago has made things interesting though as they have benched Jay Cutler and replaced him with Jimmy Clausen.  Will the Lions lose for a 3rd time this season to a backup quarterback or will they cruise to another easy win against the Bears and seal up a playoff berth for the first time since 2011?

 

OFFENSE

  • 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.  The Lions played well against the Bears defensive line last time allowing only Jared Allen to get to Matthew Stafford in Cornelius Lucas‘ first start at left tacke in place of Riley Reiff.  The Lions were without two starters and still put up one of their best offensive games.  This time, Reiff and Warford are back and playing well.  They did lose LaAdrian Waddle to injury, but Lucas is set to replace him and did well last week against Minnesota.  Edge None
  • 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 Kellen Davis 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 receivers torched Chicago’s secondary last time.  Calvin Johnson had over 140 yards and Golden Tate did well too.  I expect the Lions to continue exploiting the Bears’ terrible secondary and get back on track after a bad showing against the Vikings.  Edge Lions
  • Detroit Lions Running Backs vs. Chicago Bears Run Defense – Detroit has traditionally run the ball well against the Bears defense.  Last time the teams met, Joique Bell ran for 91 yards and a 4.0 yards per carry average.  There is no reason to believe the Lions will abandon the run against Chicago with the success they had the first time.  I am betting the Lions get to 100 yards rushing this week and because of that, they get the edge here finally  Edge Lions
  • Detroit Lions Quarterbacks vs. Chicago Bears Pass Defense – Last time these teams met, I criticized Matthew Stafford for not playing well.  He was coming off back to back games against top competition in the New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals.  He has struggled against good defenses but excelled against poor defenses.  Chicago is a poor defense and I expect him to light them up as he did last time they played.  There is no reason to think that 300 yards is out of the question with Stafford and the Lions receivers.   Edge Lions

 

DEFENSE

  • Detroit Lions Defensive Line vs. Chicago Bears Offensive Line – Last time these teams met, Jay Cutler was only sacked 3 times, which typically is considered a draw for the offense and defense.   A defense getting 2-3 sacks is common in today’s NFL.  Cutler’s two interceptions though are what made the defensive line’s pressure look like the key to the game as he made poor decisions when rushed.  Cutler is out this week so there is no telling how Jimmy Clausen plays.  He is terrible against pressure so I fully expect the defense to hit them hard with blitzes and defensive line penetration.  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.  Last time these teams met, Bennett got 100 yards on them.  Because of that alone, the Bears win the advantage here.   Edge Bears
  • Detroit Lions Secondary vs. Chicago Bears Wide Receivers – The Bears have two very good receivers in Brandon Marshall and Ashlon Jeffery.  Jeffery did the most damage with two touchdowns last time.  I would not rule out another touchdown from him this time around, although Clausen will have to deliver a good ball after not playing in almost 4 years.  Edge Lions
  • Detroit Lions Run Defense vs. Chicago Bears Running Backs – The Lions have the best run defense in the NFL.  The Bears did not even try running against Detroit last time they faced each other.  Everyone, including Teryl Austin expects to see the Bears run more with Matt Forte than they did last time.  If they choose not to run him again, the Bears are only playing into their own defeat by making their offense one dimensional.  Edge Lions
  • Detroit Lions Pass Defense vs. Chicago Bears Quarterbacks – The Lions pass defense has been struggling lately but still holding opponents.  They are forcing turnovers at an excellent rate and controlling the big play.  They have provided the spark needed for all of their comeback wins and I expect this week will be no different.  The Lions face Jimmy Clausen, a quarterback that quite frankly no one knew was still in the league.  He has not started since 2010 and as a starter he is 1-9.  The odds of Detroit getting a pick or two against a rusty quarterback who was never very good are high.   Edge Lions

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • 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

 

TOTALS

Lions 7 Bears 1

Last time these teams met, Detroit started slow, allowing Chicago to get a 14 point lead, then they promptly came back to thrash the Bears.  This time, Chicago starts a quarterback who many believe should have quit football along time ago.  Detroit’s coaching staff is not overlooking him and actually gives him more credit than deserved which means Detroit should not get trounced by him.  They should, though, pound a poor Chicago defense and end their losing streak in below 40 degree games.  I do not want to under sell what Clausen can do so I will give the Bears some credit here.

Detroit Lions 31 Chicago Bears 10


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