Let’s take a look at the matchups at hand in week 7 and around the NFC North.
Detroit Lions (2-3) at Chicago Bears (4-1)
The Chicago Bears come off their bye week and host the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football. The Bears will have had 15 days rest and since their last live action. Chicago has not lost at home this season and have won two of the last three matchups vs. the Lions.
The Lions are coming off an overtime win at Philadelphia in which they tied the game late in the 4th quarter to force the extra frame. The win ended a three-game losing streak.
This game has the makings of a good heavyweight fight. The Lions bring in the 2nd ranked offense to face the Bears and their 3rd ranked defense. The Lions have the NFL’s 2nd most potent passing attack, averaging 319 yards/game while the Bears are giving up 225 passing yards/game. The Bears are surrendering just over 65 rushing yards/game while the Lions offense averages just over 99 yards/game on the ground.
If the Bears plan to shut down the run and force Lions QB Matthew Stafford to throw it, they will need to get pressure on Stafford and try to bait him into throwing a few up for grabs. They should have their chances. In a single game this season, Stafford has attempted as many as 51 passes with his fewest being 32. As many attempts as he has had, Stafford is not finding the end zone with much consistency. He has zero multi-TD games this season.
Offensively, Chicago will try to sustain drives and control the clock. They should look to get the ball in RB Matt Forte’s hands to set up manageable down-and-distance in the passing game. That’s where Bears QB Jay Cutler looks for WR Brandon Marshall to beat his man to the ball and convert to keep drives alive.
Noteworthy is that the Lions may be without starting CB Bill Bentley after he re-injured his shoulder in Sunday’s game. With the Lions a bit dinged up in the secondary and the Bears at home on a three game winning streak, I give the edge to the Chicago.