Week 17: Chicago at Detroit

The Bears enter Week 17 with everything to play for. Win against the Lions, and the dream of losing in the first round of the playoffs is still alive. Lose, and the McCaskeys will have to find an inventive way to rationalize keeping Lovie "3 playoff wins in 9 years with the best defense of the decade" Smith for another year.

Bears Run Offense vs. Lions Run Defense

The Bears will attempt to run the ball down the Lions' throat this game. The Lions have shown they can be run on, with the 7th highest yards per attempt in the league this year (4.53 ypc). In fact, the Bears ran for 172 yards in Week 7 of the regular season. Forte is probable for the game, so you know he'll go. Armando Allen is questionable (knee); if he doesn't go, get ready for Kahlil Bell running left to right before falling forward for one yard a dozen times this game.

Bears Pass Offense vs. Lions Pass Defense

Jay Cutler had a pretty pedestrian game against the Lions earlier this season.  However, Cutler has dominated the Lions in his 8 starts against them (6-2, 11/1 TD/INT ratio, 100.9 rating). The obvious target is going to be Brandon Marshall, but expect Kellen Davis to drop his share of passes, and maybe (if we're lucky) he'll have a fumble or two. Alshon Jeffery will probably contribute an OPI or two as well.

A short aside: Kellen Davis is the worst TE in football, and it's not particularly close. The average TE catches around 65% of passes thrown his way. Davis has a league-worst (and it's not even close) 44% catch rate. That's just one reason why Davis has an impressive -51 Yards Above Replacement, so he's the Rafael Dolis of TE.

Bears Pass Defense vs. Lions Pass Offense

Stafford is having a fine year, and his #1 WR is the best in the world. Calvin Johnson has set the single-season yardage record. That being said, he's had only 2 bad games this year and one of them was when he lined up against Tillman all game. Tillman is expected to play (probable), but I don't imagine he'll hold Megatron to 34 rec yds again. I'd expect a decent game from Calvin. Tillman should erase the Lions #2: Young had a nice game when they matched up last year, but he's on IR, as is his backup (Ryan Broyles). Nate Burleson does not strike fear into the heart of Tim Jennings.

Melton is back for this game, so I imagine that the Bears' DL will be getting a good amount of pressure on the quarterback this game. Stafford has shown an ability to fold like a lawn chair, and in fact Peppers and Stafford have a history.

Also, you know I said Davis is the Dolis of TE? Pettigrew is the Joe Mather, with an incredible, inexplicable -128 DYAR. He somehow is worse than the next 2 TE in the league combined! To be fair to him, he's actually slightly better than Davis, he just gets targeted 3 times more often a game.

Bears Run Defense vs. Lions Run Offense

I am not particularly scared of Mikel Leshoure. He's essentially a replacement back, and while the Bears haven't really stopped the run this year (17th in the league in opp ypc), I'm not particularly convinced that the Bears are going to get shredded by Mikel. Joique Bell is a nice backup, too; in fact, I'd rather him start than Leshoure (if I was a Lions fan).

Special Teams

Olindo Mare has been fine in relief of Gould. The Bears are still a great special teams unit, even if they haven't had the TD to show for it. Detroit has dismal, dismal special teams. I just have a feeling that Hester will get a return TD today.

Summary

The Bears are clearly the better team. The way the Bears could lose this game is by losing the turnover battle, but that's the way most teams lose their games. The Bears haven't lost a game in which they've forced 3 or more TO, and they are 2-6 in the other 8 games. They are also 7-2 in games in which they have 1 TO or less. The Lions have 1 or fewer takeaways in 10 or their 16 games. This should be an easy win.

Bears 24, Lions 13

 

 

 

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