But Bears fans aren’t really bothered by this, for now, because the offense has suddenly become fun to watch.
For the time being, Chicago and its fans are happy to stomach losses so long as the offense is putting up 30 points and avoiding the crushing embarrassing mistakes that have plagued the team for so long.
A win would be great, though and this is the most winnable game the Bears have had on their schedule.
Dan Campbell’s team is going to make the Bears earn it, though.
And that’s going to be the next big test for this Bears team. Are they improved enough to separate themselves from the teams that appear to be among the worst in the league? A month ago, I would’ve had this as an ugly game between two bad teams and hoped that the Bears could slop themselves to a win like they did against Houston.
Now though, I wonder if this game is an entertaining shootout. Or, like I said, can the Bears show that they’re better than the truly bad teams.
SB Nation site: Pride of Detroit
Record: 2-6, last in the NFC North
Last week: 15-9 win over the Packers
Game day, time, TV: Sunday, noon CT, FOX
Spread: According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bears are 3-point favorites. The total is at 48.5.
Bears all-time record against: 104-75-5
Historical meetings: The Bears last played Detroit on November 13 in 2011.
The 5-3 Bears and 6-2 Lions met at Soldier Field for the big week 10 match-up.
It was all Chicago, as the Bears jumped out to a 20-0 lead behind a Matt Forte touchdown, two Robbie Gould field goals and a Devin Hester 82-yard punt return.
The defense added two pick sixes (Major Wright and Charles Tillman) in the third quarter and that was all it took as the Bears cruised to a 37-13 win.
Last meeting: It took all 60 minutes last November, when the Bears took on the 0-9-1 Lions.
The Bears had a 13-7 halftime lead on a Jimmy Graham touchdown and a pair of Cairo Santos field goals. But Jared Goff found T.J. Hockenson late in the third quarter to make it 14-13.
The Bears got the ball back with 8:30 left in the game and Andy Dalton led them on a 69-yard, 18 play drive that took the remainder of the game and ended with a Cairo Santos 28-yard field goal as time expired for a 16-14 Bears win.
Injury report: The Lions listed 10 players on their Wednesday injury report. Seven were listed as limited and three did not participate.
- RB D’Andre Swift (ankle/shoulder)
- DB Kerby Joseph (concussion)
- S Ifeatu Melifonwu (ankle)
- T Matt Nelson (calf)
- CB AJ Parker (hip)
- C Frank Ragnow (foot)
- OLB Malcolm Rodriguez (elbow)
Did not participate
- CB Chase Lucas (ankle)
- WR Josh Reynolds (back)
- RB Jamaal Williams (veteran rest)
Offense: The Lions offense comes in ranked 12th in points and seventh in yards.
The passing offense ranks eighth and the rushing offense ranks ninth.
Led by QB Jared Goff (62.9 pct. cmp./2,041 yds./14 TD/7 INT), the offense has been inconsistent. After a hot start and scoring 35 points per game their first four games, they’ve fallen flat and averaged just 12 points in their next four games, including getting shutout by the Patriots, scoring six points against the Cowboys and 15 last week against Green Bay.
Goff has had success working with Amon-Ra St. Brown (39 rec./399 yds./3 TD) (Equanimeous’s brother), Josh Reynolds (26/357/2) and Kalif Raymond (20/255/0). Running backs D’Andre Swift (16/144/2) and Jamaal Williams (9/57/0) also get involved a bit.
Since T.J. Hockenson (second on the team in receptions, yards and tied for lead in touchdowns) was traded, their main TE is Brock Wright (6/88/0).
As rushers, Williams (126 att./545 yds./8 TD) and Swift (34/247/1) split duties. Williams has gotten the bulk of the work since the first three games of the season, as Swift has dealt with an ankle injury.
Defense: The Lions defense is among the worst in the league, coming in ranked 32nd in both yards and points allowed.
Their passing defense ranks 29th, while their rushing defense ranks 31st. While the Bears have struggled against the run, they currently rank 30th in rushing yards allowed.
Second overall pick Aidan Hutchinson (4.5 sks/3 TFL/9 QB hits/1 INT/1 PD) is playing like a second overall pick and is Detroit’s most consistent playmaker on defense.
Beyond him, LB Alex Anzalone (62 tkl./1.5 sk/3 PD/3 TFL), S Kerby Joseph (2 INT/4 PD/2 FF/31 tkl.), and CB Jeff Okudah (49 tkl./3 PD) are really the main players on this unit.
No one else has more than one sack and no other player has more than one interception.
Key matchups: This game might come down to which defense can make a stop. The Bears haven’t been able to stop anybody, but other than Green Bay last week, neither has Detroit.
Their offense hasn’t been the same since early in the year, but the defenses they’ve played against have also been good and are much better than the Bears.
The Lions have to deal with the league’s best rushing attack and since they’ve struggled as badly as the Bears have, I would think that Chicago’s staff is licking their chops.
The OL, specifically the tackles Braxton Jones and Riley Reiff, will have to worry about when Hutchinson lines up across from them. Hutchinson was primarily lining up against the RT against Green Bay, but he moves around and notably had his interception when lining up on the right end spot against Green Bay’s LT.
For the Bears’ defense, they have to stop Williams and Swift. If they can contain the Detroit running game, it’s going to be easier to turn Jared Goff into the QB we all know he is.
Jaylon Johnson and Kyler Gordon will have to slow down Amon-Ra St. Brown, who is far and away Detroit’s best offensive weapon.
- The Lions rank last in third down defense, allowing opponents to convert 51 percent of their third downs. The Bears rank one spot ahead of them.
- But the Bears rank 10th in offensive third down conversions, while Detroit ranks 19th.
- Detroit is allowing 278.5 passing yards per game. That mark alone would be the highest of the season for the Bears.
- Detroit’s run defense has allowed the second-most rushing touchdowns to opponents.
- The Lions have kept Goff clean, he’s been sacked only 13 times on the season, fourth-lowest in the league.
- Detroit ranks eighth in blitz percentage, but only 25th in pressure percentage.
- They are giving up the highest average depth of target in the league, meaning opposing receivers are getting downfield on them. Conversely, they rank low in yards after catch allowed (26th), meaning most of the damage is being done on the routes, not after the catch.
- The Lions haven’t faced a lot of mobile quarterbacks this season. In week one, Jalen Hurts rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown against them. Geno Smith had 49 yards and a touchdown.
- Detroit is tied for third-most receiving TDs allowed to opposing TEs with five.
- They have allowed the fourth-most rushing yards to opposing QBs as well.
- The Bears have won seven of the last 10 meetings between the teams.
Will this be another shootout or can the Bears assert some dominance and show that they’re improving enough to put away the truly bad teams?