By Bryan Dietzler
The Chicago Bears, fresh off of their 22-14 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles will play host to division rival Detroit. Detroit played the Oakland Raiders this past Sunday and lost 31-24. The Bears come into this game with a record of 3-5 while the Lions enter Sunday’s matchup at 3-4-1.
Both teams are looking for a win to help their slim playoff chances. The game puts two division rivals together and could be one of the better games of the year for both teams. Both of them know each other well and these games are always tough. This means that the Bears and the Lions are going to fight each other close as they battle it out for success in this game.
We are going to take a look at this game based on the numbers and see which team has a better chance of winning this game. Do the Bears have a shot or is it Detroit’s game to lose?
Let’s find out.
Bears on Offense
Chicago’s offense has been horrible. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has regressed beyond anyone’s thinking and is nothing like what the Bears thought he would be when they drafted him. He struggles to play the position and the Bears aren’t doing much to help him.
He’s bad and isn’t going to get any better.
The passing game has been so inept, it cannot be counted on. The Bears just can’t seem to get anything going through the air even though they have some good weapons. They just can’t get good play at the quarterback position.
Trubisky is ranked as one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL, if not the worst. For right now, Chicago is kind of “stuck” with him until the offseason when they can do something to fix the quarterback position. Trubisky is not handling his problems well. Perhaps the only thing that they can do is bench him and start Chase Daniel? That might seem like a good short-term option but it’s not valid, long term
But we aren’t here for the long term. We are talking about the present.
The Bears offense ranks at or near the bottom of the league in most categories. In points scored, Chicago is ranked 27th in scoring averaging just 17.8 points per game. That’s not going to win you that many games, even if your defense is good. You have to be scoring much more to be able to walk away with a victory.
The Bears are gaining just 266.8 yards per game on the ground which is a lowly 29th in the league. Something has to give. They need to move the ball. There is not much else that you can say. They need to do better on offense.
Perhaps the most inept part of the Bears’ lowly offense is their passing game. They average just 186.2 yards through the air which ranks 30th in the NFL. This is bad. Very bad. And it looks like there is no end in sight.
Not only do the Bears rank 30th in the NFL in passing, but some other numbers show the ineptitude on offense. For example, they rank 30th in yards per play, 30th (tied) in yards per pass attempt and 28th in first downs per game.
The rankings are horrible, and they mean a lot. The Bears are bad on offense and the numbers don’t lie.
The Detroit Lions are allowing teams to score an average of 27.1 points per game which is ranked 27th in the NFL. This isn’t strong, by any means, especially for a team with a defensive-minded head coach. Couple that with the fact that the Lions are allowing teams to gain a whopping 424.1 yards per game (31st in the league) and this spells trouble to the Lions and opportunity for the Bears.
But can the Bears take advantage of this?
The answer is probably not but they can certainly try.
Detroit’s passing defense is allowing teams to throw for an average of 288.4 yards per game which is 30th in the NFL right now. The Bears can’t seem to throw the ball effectively but if they decide they can and can throw the ball, they could be able to do it against the Lions. But first, they have to get their passing game going.
The Bears finally got their rushing game going against the Los Angeles Chargers a couple of weeks ago but it fell off a bit against the Eagles. If the Bears want to find success against the Lions, they need to run the ball.
The Bears are 27th in the league rushing for 80.5 yards per game. They are also tied for 27th in yards per rush. The Lions are allowing teams to gain 135.8 yards per game. If ever there was a time for the Bears to take advantage of a weak rush defense, it’s this Sunday.
Look for Chicago to run the ball as much as possible to win this game. They know it will help lead them down the path to victory. Let’s just hope that the Lions aren’t able to stop them.
Bears on Defense
If you didn’t see the first half of the Bears’ game against the Eagles, you missed one of the poorer showings by the defense this year. But what you saw in the second half should have been much more troubling. The Bears allowed the Eagles to maintain a drive that took a lot of time off the clock and helped just about put the game out the Bears reach.
The defense has some work to do. But the offensive problems do have a direct effect on what the Bears can do on defense. If the defense is on the field too long, they get tired and become ineffective. The offense can also leave the defense in a tough position on the field forcing them to defend a short field. That happened as well.
The offense has been the defense’s worst enemy so far this season.
But still, Chicago’s defense has been strong despite the recent breakdowns and the numbers don’t lie. The Bears are a good defense and it shows.
When it comes to points allowed, Chicago ranks 6th in the league allowing 18 points per game. This is good but not good enough when your offense isn’t able to score. When it comes to yards allowed per contest, Chicago is allowing teams to gain 323.6 yards per game which is 9th. Still good if you go by the numbers.
The Lions are averaging 25.5 points per game which is 12th in the league. So, it would appear the Bears’ defense has their work cut out for them. Total yards for the Lions come in at 391.2 which is 5th. This team can put up a ton of yards so the Bears have to play tight defense.
The passing game has gotten the best of the Bears over the last few games. Teams have been able to put up some solid passing numbers against them. This has been because the defense isn’t getting a strong enough pass rush like they should. They have also failed to force interceptions which help the defense get off the field and allow the offense to have better field position.
Speaking of interceptions, it’s going to be difficult to get any against Lion’s quarterback Matthew Stafford. So far this season, through eight games, he has thrown just five interceptions. The Bears need to buck that trend and try to grab some freebies from Stafford. It will help them get into the win column.
The Bears passing defense is ranked 14th in the league allowing 230.1 yards per game. The Lions are way up in the rankings with their passing offense throwing from 295.2 yards per game which is good for third. The Bears will have their work cut out for them but it’s nothing that some solid pass rushing and great coverage won’t be able to take care of.
Finally, when it comes to stopping the run, the Bears are ranked 8th in the league allowing 93.5 yards per rush. They have allowed some significant rush yardage games lately and will need to try to shut down the Lions and not let them run in this one. The Lions are ranked 21st right now averaging 96 yards per game. So, it would appear that they won’t be trying to run the football against the Bears. With that, hopefully, Chicago will pin their ears back and take away the passing attack.
If they can’t it’s going to be a long game and another loss for the Bears.
The Bears need their special teams units to come through for them in this game. Whether it’s getting that critical field goal or placing the punt in a favorable spot, the Bears special teams needs to do some positive things. It would be nice if they could return a kick or a punt for a touchdown or at least break some long runs.
The Bears need to get more out of their special teams and it would be nice to see it happen in this game.
Matt Nagy and Matt Patricia are both young coaches that don’t have a lot of experience. Nagy would seemingly have the upper hand based on his performance last season but this season has been way less than stellar for him. I consider the two of them even right now with no one having the edge over the other.
The following is an update on injuries for the Bears and the Lions.
Eddie Goldman-NT-Thigh-Goldman has not practiced and may not play Sunday.
Isiah Irving-LB-Quad-He didn’t practice and may be a game-time decision on Sunday.
Joe Dahl-OG-Ankle-Did not practice.
Sam Martin-P-Abdomen-Did not practice.
Da’Shawn Hand-DL-Ankle-Did not practice.
Tracy Walker-DB-Knee-Did not practice.
Graham Glasgow-C/G-Back-He was limited in practice.
Mike Daniels-DT-Foot-Limited in practice.
Danny Amendola-WR-Hand-Practiced in full.
A’Shawn Robinson-DT-Ankle-Limited in practice.
Matthew Stafford-QB-Hip/Back-Limited in practice.
Jesse James-TE-Back-Practiced in full.
Damon Harrison-DT-Groin-Practiced in full.
Darius Slay-CB-Hamstring-Practiced in full.
Amani Oruwariye-CB-Knee-Practiced in full.
This is a tough game to predict. Both teams aren’t playing well but they match up against one another well enough and that means that this will be an interesting game. If the Bears can squeeze out just enough offense, they could likely win this game but it’s going to be close.
I say the Bears get a little “fire” lit underneath them and have a good game ending up with a win.