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This classic rivalry in the black and blue division would be a lot more anticipated if either of these teams stood out as at all threatening this season, but as it stands, expect the Lions to welcome back a healthy Stafford and cover the three point spread at home.
Lions -3 (-110)
|Bears vs Lions Information
|Chicago Bears vs Detroit Lions
|Ford Field in Detroit, MI
|Sunday, September 13, 2020; 1:00 PM ET
|How to watch
There is an ongoing battle for the quarterback position in Chicago, with Mitchell Trubisky trying desperately to hang onto his job while journeyman Nick Foles attempts a Bears take over under center, both athletes having their own separate struggles.
Last season, the Lions had to play their final eight games without quarterback Matthew Stafford, who sat out after being diagnosed with non-displaced fractures in his upper thoracic spine, so it will be an exciting reunion in Detroit as their leader returns healthy and ready to win again.
When these two NFC North rivals faced each other last regular season, it was all the Chicago Bears, who won the first game 24-10 in Detroit, and the second matchup 20-13 at Soldier Field, both games not played until November.
One of the main problems Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky seems to have is completing his forward passes, his career completion percentage after three seasons in the NFL being 63.4, which is not going to keep him employed for very much longer.
In those same three seasons, Trubisky’s main competition for the QB position, Nick Foles, completed almost 65 percent of his passes, which is obviously better but not by much, making this positional competition even more interesting.
Trubisky will get the initial start, and it will be his job to lose, but if he can’t get the ball to his own receivers (he’s averaged almost 10 picks a year), then head coach Matt Nagy will have to give Foles a chance, a QB who’s thrown just over 4 interceptions per season in his eight professional NFL years.
Stafford is healthy, yes, but he will only play effectively if he can get back the chemistry and connection he has already built up with his four main receiving targets, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, slot man Danny Amendola and tight end T.J. Hockenson.
Keep in mind it had been almost a year since Stafford has worked out with these key playmakers, and with the limited preseason they received this year, it is no given that they will automatically find their rhythm in Week 1.
The Lions were eighth overall last season in reception yards with 4,187 of them, so this is an effective unit when firing on all cylinders, but whether or not they can get all those engines running simultaneously this early in the season will be something worth watching for.
It’s easy to forget how good Khalil Mack is, but the linebacker who played in all sixteen games last season is still an effective and exceptional playmaker.
In 2019, Mack posted 8.5 sacks, 14 hits on the quarterback, 5 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, 4 passes defended, 47 combined tackles with 8 of those for a loss.
Mack will be a force to be reckoned with, especially in Week 1.
While much attention is being paid to Stafford’s return, the Lions’ run game is critical to their offensive success, and a healthy Kerryon Johnson is at the center of it all.
Last year in his second NFL season, Johnson played in just eight games due to a knee injury but still recorded 113 carries for 403 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging just 3.6 yards per attempt.
Now, after recovering from his offseason knee surgery, Johnson will attempt to pick up where he left off, but if he can’t cut the mustard, the newly acquired veteran running back Adrian Peterson will be right there to take over.
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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