Say this. Whenever these two teams have gotten together the past two years, it’s resulted in some late fireworks. So maybe this game might actually be fun to watch. Then again the Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears game on Sunday won’t be must-see TV for most. Expect a lot of tuning in to NFL Red Zone for those who may have it.
Truth be told this feels like a game that will be played out of total desperation. Two teams fighting for whatever glimmer of hope they have left. Games like that tend to be either a game of who wants it more a game of who wants it less. The latter being a case of which team makes the final mistake rather than the final big play.
Here is a breakdown of where things stand going into the game, what’s at stake, and how it could all play out.
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears won’t have much heat
Matt Nagy on the hot seat – Perhaps nobody has more at stake in this game than the Bears head coach. He’s coming off a 41-25 humiliation in Green Bay, the fifth loss in a row for this team. Rumors are rampant that ownership is starting to lean towards firing him if he can’t get this thing turned around. A loss to a Lions team that just fired their head coach would probably be the death blow.
The future of Matthew Stafford – One thing people aren’t sure about is the future of the Lions’ longtime franchise quarterback. It’s clear the team is headed for another rebuild. Is that something they really want to put him through and can he survive long enough? That is what the two sides need to find out. Finishing strong would help Stafford alleviate fears that injuries have begun to take their toll on him.
Kenny Golladay (hip) – It’s been a tough season for Golladay. In what is a contract year, he’s dealt with multiple injuries that have kept out of several games including the first meeting between these two teams. Now it appears he’ll miss the second as well. A big weapon Stafford won’t have. One that has given the Bears a lot of grief in recent years.
Khalil Mack (back) – The health of the star pass rusher has remained a question mark all season. His recent sack drought was hard to explain until he popped up on the injury report with a back issue. This isn’t the first time that’s happened, which leads one to wonder if this is something he’s been dealing with all year. Having him at less than 100% makes life tougher for the Chicago Bears defense.
T.J. Hockenson vs. Danny Trevathan – It took longer than expected but Hockenson has finally begun morphing into the playmaking tight end the Lions drafted 10th overall last year. He leads the team with 530 yards and five touchdowns. Trevathan has been up and down all season but continues to show vulnerability in coverage whenever matched up on tight ends. The Lions exploited this once before. Why not again?
Allen Robinson vs. Amani Oruwariye – It appears Detroit will be down both Desmond Trufant and #3 overall cornerback Jeff Okudah for this game. That means it will fall to Oruwariye to be their primary cover guy. That means he’ll draft the frequent showdown with Robinson who has remained consistently hard to cover all season. With a lot of money at stake this coming March, he’ll be aiming for a big performance.
D’Andre Swift – If anybody is looking for some redemption in this game, it’ll be Swift who dropped what would’ve been the game-winning TD on opening day back in September. He’s been playing a lot better of late, averaging over 100 yards from scrimmage in each of the past two games. After what Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams did to the Bears last week, Detroit will likely go to him early.
Darnell Mooney – The Lions defense has shown vulnerability to speed pretty much all season. That was especially true on Thanksgiving when Will Fuller torched them repeatedly over the top for 171 yards and two touchdowns. A big part of this has been how poor their pass rush has performed. If that remains the case, Trubisky should get a few opportunities to find the speedy Mooney deep.
Prediction: Bears win 19-17
Nothing about this game is going to be pretty. Neither team is good at this point. Both are coming off blowout losses that featured the exact same score. Detroit has the advantage at quarterback but Chicago has the better defense with a QB in Mitch Trubisky who has owned the Lions most of his career. This will be a sloppy game that the Bears will escape with a late field goal.