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Week 11 game preview: Bears-Lions

The Chicago Bears head to Detroit with their starting QB back. Can they get a big road upset?

Detroit Lions v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Returning to action after 10 days to celebrate their victory over the Carolina Panthers, the Chicago Bears take on the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

The Lions are the division leaders and look to be about as strong as any team in the NFC this year.

This isn’t the Lions we’re used to.

The Bears will at least get Justin Fields back at quarterback this week, for whatever that is worth. That answer probably depends from fan to fan.

Let’s meet this Lions team.

Detroit Lions

SB Nation site: Pride of Detroit

Record: 7-2, first in the NFC North

Last week: 41-38 win over the Los Angeles Chargers

Game day, time, TV: Sunday, noon CT, FOX

Spread: According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bears are 10-point underdogs. The point total is set at 47.

Bears all-time record against: 104-77-5

Historical meetings: The Bears and Lions have met three times on Nov. 19; 1944, 1995 and 2017. The Bears have lost all three of those meetings.

The last of those, Nov. 19, 2017, week 11. The 3-6 Chicago Bears hosted the 5-4 Lions.

Halfway through the second quarter, the Bears led 17-7. Conner Barth hit a field goal, rookie Mitchell Trubisky hit Adam Shaheen for a 1-yard touchdown pass and Jordan Howard rushed for a 12-yard TD.

But Matthew Stafford led the Lions on a seven-play 86-yard drive that culminated with a Marvin Jones 28-yard touchdown catch.

After a quick Chicago three-and-out, the Lions marched 72 yards in eight plays and Stafford hit Ameer Abdullah for a 2-yard pass touchdown with 20 seconds left in the half.

Matt Prater hit a 27-yard field goal early in the fourth to go up 24-17 at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

The Bears responded with a touchdown drive of their own. Aided by a roughing the passer call, the Bears scored on a 15-yard run by Tarik Cohen.

Detroit took the lead back on a 52-yard field goal with 1:35 left.

Trubisky took the Bears down the field, including converting a wild fourth and 13 on a scramble, to get the Bears to the Lions’ 28-yard line with 8 seconds left.

Conner Barth missed a 46-yard field goal and the Bears lost, 27-24. ”Not even close. Holy Moses,” Tom Brenneman said.

Last meeting: Week 17 last season.

Justin Fields hit Cole Kmet on the opening drive of the game for a 13-yard touchdown pass.

The Lions answered right back with Jared Goff hitting Brock Wright for a 2-yard touchdown.

The Bears drove down and Cairo Santos hit a 23-yard field goal. That was the points of the game for Chicago.

The Lions punted their next drive but then went touchdown,, field goal, touchdown, touchdown on their next four possessions.

The next time they punted, it was already 31-10. They added another touchdown and a late field goal and cruised to a 41-10 victory.

Injury report: The Lions had five players on their Wednesday injury report as limited or not participating.


  • WR Kalif Raymond (ankle)
  • DT Levi Onwuzurike (hip)
  • S Ifeatu Melifonwu (hand)

Did not participate

  • DT Isaiah Buggs (illness)
  • G Jonah Jackson (wrist/ankle)

Offense: The Lions offense comes into the game ranked sixth in points and second in yards.

Their passing offense ranks fourth and their rushing offense ranks fourth.

Jared Goff (68.4 pct. cmp./2,507 yds./14 TD/5 INT) is having a Kenough season resurgence after being written off following his trade from the Rams.

He’s getting a lot of help from a great offense line and a nice stable of weapons led by Amon-Ra St. Brown (65 rec./821 yds./4 TD), rookie TE sensation Sam LaPorta (47/474/4), rookie RB Jahmyr Gibbs (31/200/0), Josh Reynolds (24/412/3) and Kalif Raymond (20/277/1). Brock Wright (9/68/1) and Jameson Williams (8/89/1) are around too.

On the ground for Detroit is former Bear David Montgomery (106 att./501yds./6 TD), in a revenge game. Rookie Gibbs (90/476/4) uses his speed and has been coming on strong in recent games.

Defense: The Lions defense comes into this week ranked 21st in points allowed and ninth in yards allowed.

Their passing defense ranks 20th, while their rushing defense ranks third.

Detroit’s defense starts up front with Aidan Hutchinson (4.5 sk/1 FF/1 INT/4 PD/4 TFL/13 QB hits). Alex Anzalone (3 sk/5 TFL/7 QB hits/1 FF) and Alim McNeill (4 sk/5 TFL/7 QB hits/1 FF) are also making plays up front.

On the back end, Jerry Jacobs (3 INT/7 PD) and Kerby Joseph (2 INT/6 PD/40 tkl) are making plays.

Key match-ups: If you like line play, the right side of the o-line against Aidan Hutchinson is one to watch. Let’s see how rookie Darnell Wright can hold up against one of the best young DEs in the game. Teven Jenkins is probably going to get in there, too, to help out.

DJ Moore and the receivers should be able to find some room against a Detroit secondary that has gotten lit up several times this season.

For the defense, Montez Sweat has to break through and be a wrecking crew against Jard Goff. Goff is very pedestrian when he’s getting rushed. That is a huge part of this game.

If Jaylon Johnson can win more than he loses against Amon-Ra, that will help too.

Also, containing Detroit’s run game, especially David Montgomery, who is going to want to take it to his former team, is a big key to throwing off Detroit’s offense.

Key stats

  • Only the Ravens have rushed for over 100 yards as a team against the Lions this season.
  • The Lions have had over 330 yards of offense in every game this season. The Bears have done it once.
  • David Montgomery has seven touchdowns. His career high is eight, which he set back in 2020.
  • The Lions defense is third in the league in hurry percentage.
  • They are 21st in sacks with 21 sacks.
  • The Lions have been held to less than 20 points just once this season (vs. Baltimore).
  • Detroit’s red zone defense ranks 30th, allowing opponents to score on 69 percent of their trips inside the red zone.
  • The Bears have not won a divisional game since Thanksgiving 2021 (Nov. 25) when they beat Detroit 16-14. It’s nine straight losses since then.
  • Justin Fields is 1-10 against the NFC North. He is 1-2 against the Lions but has the most rushing yards against them of any team he’s faced.
  • Fields is still searching for his first career win in November.

What is it going to take for the Bears to get the upset Sunday? Will Justin Fields give the team a boost?