Lions Den: Windy City Preview

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The Detroit Lions will travel to Chicago to take on the Bears on Sunday at 1 p.m. on Fox.

The Lions comeback attempt fell short last week in Green Bay and the Bears were taken down by the Dallas Cowboys 31-17 on Sunday night. Both teams will be looking to bounce back and make up ground in the NFC North this week.

The Lions should be able to have their way on offense. Quarterback Matthew Stafford looked good last week in Green Bay, throwing for 385 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The interception was questionable, as tight end Eric Ebron had the ball ripped from his hands before falling and it was ruled an interception.

Running backs Theo Riddick and Dwayne Washington should be able to find some holes. Riddick is more of a pass catching specialist, so Washington should be more effective as he will likely get most of the early down work. Riddick and Washington combined for 47 yards on 20 carries last week. Chicago allowed Dallas to rush for 199 yards and three touchdowns last week, so expect Detroit to take advantage of the Bears soft front seven.

Lions receivers should be able to get open early and often. Marvin Jones had a career day last week with six catches, 205 yards and two touchdowns. Six different receivers caught passes for the Cowboys against Chicago last week, so the Lions should be able to find openings in the secondary.

The Lions defense could struggle a little bit as defensive end Ziggy Ansah and linebacker DeAndre Levy are expected to be out. It helps that the Bears are expected to start backup and former Michigan State quarterback Brian Hoyer. The Bears’ starting quarterback Jay Cutler is expected to miss the game with a hand injury.

Chicago will be without starting and former Michigan State running back Jeremy Langford due to an ankle injury. Jordan Howard will get the start and he should be able to find some holes against a banged up Lions front seven. This will be Howard’s first start of the season and of his career.

Bears receivers should be able to find openings in the Lions secondary as they are giving up an average of 264.3 yards per game through the air. Bears star receiver Alshon Jeffery is questionable, but is expected to play. The Lions will also have to be aware of tight end Zach Miller, who caught eight passes for 78 yards and two touchdowns last week.

Keys to the game

  • The first key to the game will be for the Lions front seven. They will have to battle through the injuries, get pressure on the quarterback and clog up running lanes. If the Bears can run the ball effectively, it will open up the passing game and make things hard on the Lions secondary.
  • The Lions need to establish the running game so the passing game will open up. The Lions are one of the best passing offenses in the NFL, and when they run the ball effectively, it opens up the pass game.
  • Just like previous weeks, the Lions secondary will be key. Jeffery, Kevin White and Miller are good players that can exploit Detroit’s secondary. If the Lions can’t cover the Bears receivers, the game will be closer than it should be.

Prediction

The Lions are the better team in this game and they should win handily. The Lions are banged up on the defensive line, but they should be able to overcome that. Chicago isn’t a very good team and in the end, the Lions should win this game with ease.

Lions 34, Bears 17.