The Detroit Lions (0-3) travel to Solider Field today to take on the Chicago Bears (1-2). Both NFC North teams are coming off unforgettable and record breaking losses last week.
The Lions lost 19-17 to the Baltimore Ravens at home after giving up a fourth-and-19 with seven seconds left. Justin Tucker then went on to convert an NFL-record 66-yard field goal as time expired.
The Bears fell to the Cleveland Browns 26-6 and had one of the worst offensive performances in NFL history. In rookie quarterback Justin Fields first career start, the offense mustered 47 total yards on 42 plays while Fields completed six passes on 20 attempts for 68 yards. He didn’t have much time in the pocket, though, as he was sacked nine times for a loss of 67 yards.
That offensive output was the ninth-lowest in league history and the second-worst in franchise history.
This game will be a battle of each teams weaknesses. Detroit’s defense is one of the worst in the league while Chicago’s offense is at the bottom in many categories.
Detroit comes into this game giving up 31.7 points per game, which ranks dead last in the league with the Kansas City Chiefs. They also give up over 400 yards of total offense while allowing 287 yards through the air and over 114 yards on the ground per game. All rank in the bottom half of the NFL.
On the flipside, Chicago comes in averaging 13.3 PPG, only better than the New York Jets. They also rank 32nd in total and passing yards while coming in 19th in rushing offense.
This should be a game where both teams rely heavily on their running backs.
Chicago’s David Montgomery ranks sixth in the league with 203 rushing yards through three games. But the lead back for the Bears has never really found his footing against Detroit in his career. In four games versus the Lions since being drafted in 2019, he averages just under 68 rushing yards per game and has scored twice on the ground and once through the air. His best game against Detroit came in last year’s 34-30 loss in which he ran for 72 yards and two scores.
As for Detroit, they will rely on the tandem of Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift. Williams has amassed 219 total yards with four touchdowns while Swift has 289 scrimmage yards and two scores. Swift’s total yards ranks fourth amongst running backs while he ranks second amongst backs with 19 receptions.
Both teams may want to rely even more on the ground game with the potent pass rush both these teams have been able to garner so far this season.
Chicago is fourth in the league with 10 sacks through three games. They are led by the dynamic duo of Robert Quinn (3.5) and Khalil Mack (3). They also have standout linebacker Roquan Smith who is eighth in the league with 30 tackles.
Detroit, on the other hand, is more of a collective than one player. They rank 10th in the league with eight sacks while they have eight players with at least half a sack.
Injuries could impact this game. Both teams will be missing key cogs on both sides of the ball.
Chicago will be without Andy Dalton, which means Fields will be backed up by Nick Foles. They will also be without linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe (hamstring) while safety Tashaun Gipson (hamstring) is doubtful.
Detroit, with multiple starters on both sides of the ball already being on injured reserve, will be without LB Trey Flowers who has been ruled out with a shoulder injury. Linebacker Romeo Okwara (shoulder) and defensive end Michael Brockers (shoulder) are questionable for the defense while kicker Austin Seibert (COVID-19) is out and Swift (groin) is questionable for the offense.
This game will be a matter of who wants it more.
Detroit and first-year head coach Dan Campbell are looking to avoid an 0-4 start while trying to continue their momentum from last week’s gut-wrenching loss. Look for quarterback Jared Goff to try and get tight end T.J. Hockenson more involved as he is coming off arguably his worst game as a pro last week against Baltimore. The third-year pro out of Iowa had two receptions for 10 yards after starting off the season with at least eight catches, 66 yards and a score in each of the first two games.
Chicago and Fields are looking to rebound from his disastrous debut. It will all start with the offensive line as they will not be able to allow nine sacks again if they want to compete. Also, look for Fields to get wide receiver Allen Robinson II involved more in the offense. The Pro Bowler is off to a slow start this year with only 86 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions. He has had some success against Detroit in his career and the Lions’ secondary is one of the worst in the league.
I think this game will go down to the wire and both teams have a good chance to win. I think it will come down to a battle of the trenches and I think Detroit’s line will be able to hold off Mack and Company better than Chicago’s line will be able to protect Fields.
Goff and Campbell will earn their first win in the Motor City and snap a seven game losing streak dating back to last year while Fields will drop to 0-2 in his career and head coach Matt Nagy’s seat will get a little hotter in the Windy City.
Lions 24, Bears 21.
All stats are courtesy of ESPN.com and Pro-Football-Reference.com.