The Detroit Lions have lost four of five after starting the season off 3-3. After their latest loss, a 41-25 drubbing on Thanksgiving, at the hands of the Houston Texans, enough was enough. That led to owner Sheila Ford Hamp to clean house and fire head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn.
Patricia was 13-29-1 in his two-plus seasons in the Motor City. The Lions were 31-43-1 during Quinn’s four-plus years in Detroit.
In offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s first game as interim head coach, the Lions travel to Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears. The Bears, just like the Lions, have struggled this year and have lost five straight games after beginning the season 5-1.
The Lions (4-7) are looking for a fresh start on both sides of the ball under Bevell.
The Bears (5-6) are looking to salvage a once-promising season and keep their playoff hopes alive.
Both teams have struggled on offense this year.
Detroit is averaging 22.9 points per game, which ranks 22nd, while having one of the worst rushing attacks in the NFL. Their 96.6 rushing yards per game ranks 27th.
They will have to rely heavily on the arm of Matthew Stafford, who is having an average year at best. The twelfth-year pro out of Georgia has thrown for 2,876 yards, 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions on the year. His yards and TDs rank in the top-15, respectively.
Stafford will have to play without arguably his two best playmakers in running back D’Andre Swift and wide receiver Kenny Golladay. Swift is doubtful with an illness while Golladay is missing his seventh game of the year with a hip injury.
In their places, the team will turn to Adrian Peterson to man the backfield and tight end T.J. Hockenson to be the primary target in the receiving game. Peterson leads the team with 444 rushing yards while Hockenson leads the team in receiving with 530 yards. Peterson could be in for a big game as Chicago gives up over 121 yards per game on the ground.
As for the Bears, they rank 29th in scoring as they are averaging 19.6 points per game. They also have the worst rushing attack in the NFL with an average of 82.1 yards per game on the ground.
For Chicago, they will start Mitch Trubisky at quarterback. While he hasn’t played particularly well in 2020, he has played well against the Lions. In Week One, Trubisky engineered a 17 point, fourth quarter comeback. Trailing 23-6 in the last quarter, he threw three touchdowns and led the Bears to a 27-23 victory.
In his career against the Lions, Trubisky is on another level. He has won four straight games against Detroit and hasn’t lost since his rookie season in 2017. In six career games against his NFC North counterpart, he has passed for 1,601 yards to go along with 14 TDs and four interceptions. During this four game win streak, he has passed for three touchdowns in every game, to go with only one interception overall.
Trubisky has one of the most talented receivers in football at his disposal in Allen Robinson. On the year, Robinson has caught 71 passes for 829 yards and five touchdowns. His reception total ranks eighth while his yardage ranks 14th.
While Chicago as a team is paltry on the ground, starter David Montgomery is no slouch. He is 18th in the league in yards with 575, but he has only found the end zone once.
On the defensive side of the ball, Detroit has been abysmal. They are giving up 29.8 points per game, which ranks second to last in the league, while giving up 133.4 yards per game on the ground, which ranks 28th.
Defense, meanwhile, has been Chicago’s saving grace. They are giving up 22.7 points per game, which ranks eighth, and have one of the most feared players in the league in linebacker Khalil Mack.
Injuries could affect the outcome of this one as both teams may be without some impact players.
For Chicago, Robinson (knee), guard Germain Ifedi (calf), offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr. (toe), Mack (back) and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (hamstring) are all questionable for this contest.
For the Lions, besides Golladay and Swift, they will be missing cornerback Jeff Okudah (shoulder/groin) and defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (groin) who are both out for this game. Safety Tracy Walker (personal) is also questionable.
Now time for the prediction.
This game could honestly go either way. Can Bevell ignite a fire under this team? Can this team respond for head coach Matt Nagy and end this doozy of a losing streak?
I would have to say that Trubisky keeps his magic going against Detroit. Winning four straight games against the same team is no small feat and his numbers are impressive, regardless of what he does against the rest of the league.
Stafford may put up a valiant effort, but the Lions are missing too many important pieces to put together a full game.
I think the Bears will get back to .500 and remain in the playoff hunt while Detroit will fall to 4-8 and continue to climb up draft boards.
Bears 30, Lions 24.
All stats are courtesy of ESPN.com and Pro-Football-Reference.com.