A year after losing in the de-facto NFC North title game in Week 17 and settling for an NFC Wild Card, the 5-4 rival Detroit Lions are again in a similar position as far as a playoff push with Thanksgiving on the horizon. The Bears at 3-6, at this point are well out of the postseason race, but if pride means anything will gladly play spoiler down the stretch with two match-ups in the last seven games against their North contemporaries.
This rivalry isn't for the faint of heart either. The last four meetings between Chicago and Detroit have each been decided by four or less points. Ultimately, this afternoon may come down to whether the rookie hotshot Mitchell Trubisky can make the plays to out duel the established veteran Matthew Stafford. Or, which quarterback doesn't make the backbreaking mistake late. No pressure.
Here are WCG's staff picks for Bears-Lions.
Per DVOA, the Lions are actually one of the more underrated teams in the NFL. They know what they do well offensively and are solid enough on defense. Meanwhile, it’s difficult to tell what the Bears’ identity on either side of the ball is exactly, due to a variety of inexperience, and more importantly, coaching factors. A little #WeHaveMitch magic and Detroit red zones woes will keep this game close, but the better team prevails.
Lions 24 Bears 19
Lester Wiltfong Jr.
I’m going to cheat this week.
This game will tell us if the players have tuned out John Fox.
Last week's game was an embarrassment, so if the players are done with Fox it’ll be 34 - 13 Lions.
But if pride kicks in, the Bears have the talent to keep it close. And if they play a little angry, they can win in spite of Fox’s game plan, 17 - 14.
There's no compelling reason to pick the Bears after last week's mess. The team will likely get out coached again as well as out performed. I worry that the talented Detroit secondary will get a pick or two off of Trubisky. I'll be among the Soldier Field faithful and I hope I'm wrong, but this will be the second Bears-Lions game I've attended and the second under John Fox. I expect a similar result to what I saw in Week 17 of 2015 (a loss with Jimmy Clausen as the starter).
Lions 27, Bears 17
Dontrelle Inman and Adam Shaheen both have a play or two with big gains, but the offense is basically shackled. The defense is gassed by the second half and playing tight costs Chicago a winnable game. Again.
Lions 24 Bears 17
2017 is becoming one of those no rhythm seasons, so I'll pick the Bears. As far as how I'm actually feeling about this team? Bad. Last week's loss threatens to derail the season, turning it from one of hopeful progress to desperate salvation. Let's get a win and try to make some longterm growth.
Bears 21, Lions 17
Last week the Bears had a prime moment to take down an injured and vulnerable team, but in our haste to crown the Bears, they did the one thing they've been counted on to do under Fox - "Bears" all over themselves and "Bears" themselves out of the game. Until they show evidence that they can stop hitting themselves, given the ineptitude on offense and a defense that shouldn't be on the field 38 minutes a game, I'll pick the horrendously-ill-fated Besaid Aurochs to remain the Aurochs.
Lions 20 Bears 16
The Bears lost a game last week that was a "should-win" and completely embarrassed themselves in the process. The last two times the Bears embarrassed themselves this bad (against the Buccaneers and Packers) they came back to win the next week. I'm crossing my fingers that this trend will continue. As will the trend of Lions failing to get into the end zone. I'll give the Lions five field goals and the Bears three touchdowns, a field goal, and a safety.
Bears 26 Lions 15
The Bears will be pissed off after handing last week's game to "those people" on a silver platter. This is actually a pivotal game because as Lester points out, it could get really bad if the players check out on Fox. If Chicago gets blown out, Fox must be fired immediately following the game or the team could turn into a mess that's hard to recover from next year.
Bears 27 Lions 24
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