Since the winner of Sunday’s game between the 3-5 Chicago Bears and the 3-4-1 Detroit Lions will see their slim playoff hopes remain kicking for another week, with the loser taking up the cellar of the NFC North, I wanted to see what the national Power Ranking analysts thought of both teams.
Neither team has looked good of late, with the Bears losing their last four games and the Lions dropping four of their last five, so let’s see what the experts are saying.
Over at NFL.com they have the Lions down 3 spots to 19 and the Bears down 2 spots to 22.
Another frustrating loss for the Lions, who are kicking away too many opportunities to stay in the NFC playoff race. On Sunday in Oakland, the biggest culprit was the defense, carved up through the air and on the ground in a 31-24 defeat. Detroit’s offense is talented enough to keep up in a shootout, but it’s not a sustainable ask week after week. The Lions need someone to step up on D, and they need their defensive-minded head coach, Matt Patricia, to find a way to stop the bleeding. It’s a shame, too, because this offense can light it up. Matthew Stafford might be at the height of his powers, and the wide receiver tandem of Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones is one of the best in football. Speaking of which, how can those two guys not be on the field with the game on the line in the final seconds? The Lions, man.
If you haven’t watched the Lions this year, Stafford has been playing really good.
The Bears reached their nadir as they jogged to the tunnel at halftime of Sunday’s loss to the Eagles. In the game’s first two quarters, Chicago accumulated 9 net yards of offense on 20 plays. Matt Nagy’s “attack” rebounded somewhat in the second half with two touchdown drives, but there remains a very real and seemingly unsolvable quarterback problem on this roster. Mitchell Trubisky has put enough on tape at this point to show us he is not the player Chicago thought it was getting with the No. 2 overall pick in 2017. Ideally, the Bears would have an untested-but-promising young backup to turn to, but Chase Daniel (33) is not that. The limitations of the quarterback room will keep Chicago in purgatory until the Bears can address the situation in the offseason. And they will. As for this season? At 3-5 and with a remaining schedule filled with Super Bowl contenders, it’s already over.
ESPN has Detroit down 2 places to 18th overall while they have the Bears down to 21st after being at 17 a week ago.
Detroit Scary trend: 424.1 yards allowed per game
It’s a simple number, but to truly address Detroit’s defensive malaise, you must start at the most fundamental level. And the Lions, both on the ground and through the air, have allowed too many yards. This goes beyond the bend-but-don’t-break approach that appears to be Matt Patricia’s favored style. It’s also hurting Detroit -- the Lions are 2-4 over the past six games despite scoring at least 24 points in five of them. Not solidifying the defense, which is supposed to be Patricia’s hallmark, would lead to another wholly unsatisfying season. -- Michael Rothstein
Teams have been lighting up Detroit’s D, so something has to give this week as they face the Bears craptastic offense.
Chicago Scary trend: Mitchell Trubisky’s 34.8 QBR
Trubisky’s QBR is 31st in the NFL. Bears coach Matt Nagy routinely stresses that Chicago’s problems on offense are greater than just Trubisky. That might be true, but Trubisky continues to play at an unacceptable level. At the current rate, Trubisky might not pass for 2,500 yards or double-digit touchdowns. That’s how bad it’s been. -- Jeff Dickerson
CBS Sports has the Lions down 4 to 20, and the Bears holding steady at 22.
Lions: That fast start seems like a long time ago with all the recent losing. Their defense isn’t good enough.
Bears: The offense is way too limited, which is why this team won’t be in the playoffs. Even the defense is tailing off some now.
Bad offense vs. bad defense this Sunday!
Here’s how Yahoo Sports has it this week.
21. Chicago Bears (3-5, LW: 18)
Not much more can be said about Mitchell Trubisky’s struggles. Yahoo Sports’ Terez Paylor spelled it all out. Trubisky made some strides last season and there was reason to believe he could continue to develop, but his regression has been stunning.
20. Detroit Lions (3-4-1, LW: 17)
It’s shocking how bad the Lions’ defense is. They’re allowing 288.4 passing yards per game, third worst in the NFL after Sunday’s games. Wasn’t Matt Patricia supposed to fix the defense?
Stunning and Shocking! This game is going to be great!
Here’s how the USA Today has it.
18. Lions (12): Matthew Stafford has a 107.0 QB rating in losses this year. He’s got a 122.0 rating vs. blitz. And he’ll remain only QB with more than 40,000 career passing yards and not a single playoff win to show for it.
22. Bears (22): Starting to appear more and more that a guy like Cam Newton might solve a whole lot of problems with Chicago’s fast deteriorating offense.
The Bears will certainly get a veteran QB in this offseason.
The Sporting News has Detroit and Chicago like this.
18. Detroit Lions, 3-4-1 (15)
The Lions keep getting the best play of quarterback Matthew Stafford’s career. But they still can’t run the ball, and they have equal trouble stopping both the run and pass defensively. Playing with a one-dimensional offense in a shootout every week isn’t a good formula for consistent success.
The Bears could be in luck if the Lions abandon the run and Khalil Mack can just get after the QB.
23. Chicago Bears, 3-5 (21)
The Bears are trying to win with the running game and defense while completely hiding Mitchell Trubisky. The problem is they need to let Trubisky loose in matchups that call for it (like the Eagles game), and they also have a lot of new holes on defense. Coach Matt Nagy is mired in a massive sophomore slump.
It would appear that running the ball 25 times with David Montgomery is the only the way the Bears can keep this game close, but will Nagy do it?