Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears

In this Week 10 NFC North matchup, last place Detroit Lions travel to chilly Soldier Field in Chicago to take on the first place Bears in a showdown that will result in either the Bears solidifying their one-game divisional lead over the Eagles or else the underdog Lions shocking the football world with an unexpected victory.

The 3-5 Detroit Lions:

After their disappointing Week 9 loss to NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings by a sad score of 9-24, the 3-5 Detroit Lions desperately need a win against the NFC North first-place Chicago Bears in Week 10.

The Lions will need more than the three field goals they put up against the Vikings, but quarterback Matthew Stafford seems to have trouble connecting for touchdowns with just 14 so far on the season, ranked 17th in the NFL.

The Lions were blown out two weeks before by the Seattle Seahawks, 14-28, so a decent showing against the Bears might prove that Detroit still has enough fuel in their fire to win a few more big games, like when they beat the Patriots in Week 3 and the Packers in Week 5.

The 5-3 Chicago Bears:

The Lions will face the 5-3 Chicago Bears again in just two weeks at home, but they’d love to grab a win at Soldier Field first.

The Chicago Bears easily took care of the Buffalo Bills in Week 9 by a runaway score of 41-9, although the Bears didn’t even score their first points until the middle of the second quarter.

Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky threw for 135 yards, a touchdown and a pick, while running back Jordon Howard ran for 47 yards and two touchdowns.

Mack is questionable

Despite not having injured linebacker and quarterback hunter Khalil Mack (ankle) in the lineup, the Bears defense proved why they’re top-five in the NFL by scoring twice themselves – once on a forced fumble and the other time on a pick-six.

Mack, a 2x All-Pro and 3x Pro-Bowler, is listed as questionable against the Lions, which is good news for any team facing the Bears.

What’s at stake:

If the Lions win this matchup, they’ll move to 4-5 and creep one game closer to the AFC North-leading Vikings and Bears.

But if the Bears come out on top, they’ll be 6-3 and stay at least a half game ahead of the Vikings in their division.

Questions to answer…

Who’s favored to win this Week 10 Lions-Bears matchup?

Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?

Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?

We’re going to compare the Lions and the Bears and attempt to answer those questions and more.

The 2018 Lions offense is average

The Lions’ offensive line didn’t do quarterback Matthew Stafford any favors by allowing him to be sacked ten times in loss to the Vikings.

Prior to that, Stafford was only sacked 13 times in eight games, so they typically keep him safe.

They’ll have to return to prior form against a Bears defense that’s tied for 7th in the league for most sacks with 24.  

Lions offense outmatched

Stafford’s passing attack and the Kerryon Johnson / LeGarrette Blount running attack are both ranked 20th in the NFL, so they’ll have to play out of their minds against a Bears defense that’s 3rd best against the run and 12th best against the pass.

Receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones are Stafford’s primary targets.

Golladay has caught 33 balls for 523 yards and 3 touchdowns (ranked 27th) and Jones has caught 32 passes for 453 yards and 5 touchdowns (35th).

With the Bears being slightly weaker against the pass, expect Lions’ offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter to design a game plan that favors an air attack.

The 2018 Bears offense can score

Between the Bears offense and defense, Chicago scored 28 points in the second half of the second quarter against the Bills to go up 28-0 at the half.

They’re a team that scores an average of 29.4 points per game, fifth best in the league.

The Lions are ranked 20th in that same category, scoring 22.5 points per game.

Trubisky middle of the road

Quarterback Trubisky is in his second year and his 1,949 total passing yards puts him 19th among quarterbacks while his 16 touchdowns has him tied for 13th.

His offensive line has allowed him to get sacked 17 times (T-18th) and his 7 interceptions are tied for eighth overall.

The Lions defense is ranked fourth against the pass, allowing just 214.6 yards per game through the air, so they’re capable of shutting Trubisky down.

Especially given the injuries to Bears receivers.

Both Taylor Gabriel (leg) and Allen Robinson (groin) are listed as questionable, so third receiver Anthony Miller and Super Bowl Champion tight end Trey Burton will have to step up.

Lions Defense ranks 18th in the league

The Lions’ secondary, including All-Pro cornerback Darius Slay, has only managed to intercept opposing quarterbacks 3 times (only three teams have less), good news for the Bears’ Trubisky, who’s tied for 8th most interceptions thrown with 7 of them.

The bad news for the Bears is that the Lions have sacked opponents 24 times (T-7th) and after only sacking the Vikings’ quarterback Kirk Cousins once all day in Week 9, they’ll be coming after Trubisky.

Leading the Lions pack will be linebacker Devon Kennard and end Romeo Okwara – each currently with 5.0 sacks apiece.

Bears Defense ranks 5th overall

The Bears defense, led by a Prince, a Khalil and a Roquan, has kept opponents to just 19.1 points per game, fourth best in the NFL.

Cornerback Prince Amukamara has an interception, which he returned 49 yards for a touchdown, 3 passes defended and 24 combined tackles (2 for a loss).

Linebacker Khalil Mack, when healthy (ankle), has 5.0 sacks, four forced fumbles, an interception that he returned 27 yards for a touchdown, 20 combined tackles and four quarterback hits.

Rookie linebacker Roquan Smith has 54 combined tackles (four for loss), two quarterback hits, 2.0 sacks, a pass defended and a forced fumble.

The Lions had best serve up an epic battle if they expect to outscore the Bears in this one.

Special Teams Stats Comparison

Punters:

Detroit’s veteran punter, Sam Martin, has spent all six of his NFL seasons as a Lion and has punted 29 times for a net average of 36.9 yards per punt, ranked 33rd in the NFL.

Last week against the Vikings, Martin and company faked a punt and converted for a first down.

Chicago’s punter, Pat O’Donnell, is a fifth year pro who has punted 30 times for a net average of 39.2 yards per punt, ranked 20th in the NFL.

Placekickers:

Detroit’s veteran placekicker, Matt Prater, in his 12th NFL season, is 16-for-19, his longest was a 50-yarder.

He hasn’t missed an extra point attempt (18/18).

Chicago’s placekicker, Cody Parkey, was a free agent pickup this offseason and has gone 13-for-16, his longest was a 50-yarder.

He hasn’t missed an extra point attempt (28/28).

Punt Returners:

Detroit’s punt returner, wide receiver Brandon Powell, is ranked 61st in the league in return average.

He’s returned 2 punts for 8 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 4.0 yards per return, his longest was for 5 yards.

Chicago’s punt returner, running back Tarik Cohen, is ranked 11th in the league.

He’s returned 20 punts for 247 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 12.4 yards per return, his longest for 42 yards.

Lions–Bears predictions and odds

The oddsmakers have the Bears favored over the Lions by 6.5 with an over/under of 45.0.

CBSSports.com has two final score predictions:

Pete Prisco goes with the even and has it Bears 24, Lions 21

John Breech takes the under and predicts it Lions 20, Bears 17

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