Two teams feeling pretty good about themselves will clash Monday night in what should be a thrilling conclusion to Week 7. The Lions, fresh off a remarkable comeback last week against Philadelphia, travel to the Windy City to take on the high-flying Bears in a key NFC North divisional showdown.
Detroit looked lost as a team as recently as a week ago, but a huge victory over the Eagles in Week 6 has made Jim Schwartz’s side a rejuvenated bunch. They now sit with a 2-3 record, anxious to get to .500 and push for another year in the post-season. Detroit looked great in the second half against the Eagles, with their head coach calling it “the best performance of their season.” Now it’ll be interesting to see if they can carry that momentum into what should be a hostile atmosphere in Soldier Field. Detroit has a bunch of banged-up players entering this contest, but all the key contributors should be good come game-time.
Meanwhile for the Bears it’s all about picking up where they left off after a relaxing bye week. When we lost saw this Chicago team they were embarrassing Tony Romo and the Cowboys on a national stage, and they’ll look to do the same to Stafford and the Lions in Week 7. Chicago is more than aware that the Packers are hot on their heels for the divisional lead, and any slip could cost them a playoff spot. One thing to be aware of in this game is the fact that the Bears have yet to play a close game. They sit at 4-1, and all five contests haven’t been particularly close. If this game is tight late in the 4th quarter, it will be interesting to see how Jay Cutler and company respond. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is expected to be out against Detroit, but Earl Bennett will likely re-enter the fold.
Lastly, bad blood exists between these two rivals, especially between the Lions’ Ndamukong Suh and Jay Cutler from an incident carrying over from last season when Suh ripped off the quarterback’s helmet. Both teams should know better to take an ill-advised penalty in such a huge game, but this is a storyline worth following given the animosity that exists.
Lions vs. Bears Spread & Betting Odds:
Detroit Lions +6.5 (-110)
@ Chicago Bears -6.5 (-110)
Over 47 (-110)
Under 47 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Lions vs. Bears Pick:
This should be a very intense battle between two teams that really don’t like each other all that much. Add in the fact that this is a huge NFC North clash where both teams would love a victory, and fireworks could certainly be expected under the Monday night lights.
Look for the Bears to come out firing on all cylinders and well-rested off their all-important bye week. Detroit is a tough team to figure out, and though they pulled off quite the comeback last week against the Eagles, Philadelphia is also a team in disarray. This is a game that features two of the top defensive units in the NFL, but the Bears remain far and away the more dominant group. The Bears defense has been rolling of late, recording five interception returns in their past three contests. They have an NFL-best 13 picks, and going against a mistake-prone Matthew Stafford bodes well for the Bears on Monday night.
Jay Cutler has had his fair share of struggles in the NFL, but always brings it against the Lions. The former Vanderbilt product has a passer rating of 105.0 against Detroit and has only thrown one interception in seven games against them. If there is a key weakness on this Lions team, it has to be their secondary. Though it’s become a bit better as they’ve become healthier, they’ll have their hands full covering Brandon Marshall. Look for Cutler to go deep on many occasions Monday night and hurt a vulnerable Detroit secondary employing many youngsters and second-stringers.
Everything points to Chicago in this one. Their defense is opportunistic and will force Stafford into turnovers. The Detroit special teams have conceded four return touchdowns in their last 3 games, and going against the talented Devin Hester won’t be easy. There’s also the fact that Chicago has dominated Detroit recently, winning 7 of their past 8 meetings, and is 8-2 on Monday Night Football under head coach Lovie Smith. Look for an inspired outing from the Bears Monday evening, spearheaded by the efforts of their ferocious defense. The Lions looked good last week, but who knows how good you have to be to beat a vulnerable Eagles side. Expect Detroit to drop back to reality, with the Bears vaulting to an impressive 5-1 record atop the NFC North. Something along the lines of a 28-17 score-line seems fitting.
PICK = Bears -6.5 (-110)