The Detroit Lions (2-3) will take on the Chicago Bears (4-1) in a heated NFC North showdown on Monday Night Football, which could have major implications on the division standings.
The Bears are desperate to prove that they own the division this season, while the Lions are a win or two away from being back in the hunt.
The Bears have the third-ranked defense in the NFL (291.2 yards per game), while the Lions are still trying to ignite the offense that made them so dangerous a year ago.
The Bears are playing better football at the moment and they'll also have the home-field advantage, which is why they're the favorites heading into the game.
Read on for odds and predictions, as well as general information on the game.
When: Monday, October 22 at 8:30 pm ET
Where: Soldier Field (Chicago, IL.)
Spread (Chicago -6.5 Over Detroit)
Since the home team Bears automatically get three points in the spread, their 6.5-point favoritism is rather slim considering they're only a one-loss team and Detroit is struggling at the moment.
But you must consider that the Lions are capable of putting points on the board, regardless of whether they win or lose. And not to mention, it's a divisional showdown, so both teams will bring their best stuff.
With that in mind, the spread comes as no surprise.
Detroit is easily capable of beating the spread. It will be difficult for them to win, but their ability to score will make Chicago's margin of victory less than one touchdown.
An over/under of 47.5 sounds like a fairly safe number for the casinos, but it's a tough one to predict.
The Bears are not too imposing on offense, even if they have had recent success, while their defense will keep Detroit in check for the most part. Both teams will likely have a final score in the 20s.
But then again, even though Jay Cutler struggles at times, the Bears have managed to score over 30 points in three of their five games this season, and we know the Lions can produce points when given the opportunity.
With that in mind, don't be surprised if both teams have scores in the high 20s or low 30s, which would make the "over" a safer choice.
QB Jay Cutler, Bears
Jay Cutler has proven time and time again that he will completely fold if the pressure is there. So with Detroit's front four, he's a bad option this week.
Detroit is only 16th overall in pass defense (227.6 yards per game), but the pass rush to too frightening to overlook.
Although, maybe the prime-time spotlight will force Cutler to be at the top of his game.
Jay Cutler is 5-1 on Monday Night Football as #Bears quarterback— Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman) October 18, 2012
QB Matthew Stafford, Lions
The Bears have allowed only five touchdown passes on the season (second fewest in NFL), while their defense leads the league in interceptions (13).
With five interceptions on the year and only four touchdown passes, the struggling Matthew Stafford is a risky option this week.
WR Brandon Marshall, Bears
LM: In two career games vs. Lions, #Bears WR Brandon Marshall has 19 receptions for 198 yards.— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 19, 2012
With Matt Forte going against a tough Lions run defense, there's a good chance that Brandon Marshall will once again be depended on as the primary playmaker for the Bears.
Marshall has 496 yards and three touchdowns already on the season, so he's a must-start every week.
WR Calvin Johnson, Lions
Chicago has a capable pass defense, but the best receiver the Bears have seen this season has been Reggie Wayne in Week 1 (Greg Jennings was injured during their game against Green Bay in Week 2).
With that in mind, the Chicago secondary has yet to see a receiver of Calvin Johnson's caliber, which will be a difficult test for them.
Even in a best-case scenario, Johnson should still produce over 75 yards and possibly a score.
The only problem is that Johnson is dealing with a possible concussion. He's a must-start if he's on the field, but he sure to check his status before throwing him into the lineup.
DE Cliff Avril
CB Dwight Bentley
S Louis Delmas
CB Jacob Lacey
DE Ronnell Lewis
TE Brandon Pettigrew
TE Stephen Tulloch
DE Kyle Vanden Bosch
DT Corey Williams
WR Titus Young
WR Earl Bennett
LB Blake Costanzo
WR Devin Hester
WR Alshon Jeffery
CB Sherrick McManis
DE Julius Peppers
P Adam Podlesh
LB Brian Urlacher
The Bears have been a defensive team in recent years, but the current team has found a way to produce and is second in the NFL in points per game (29.8), despite inconsistent play from Jay Cutler.
In recent years, the Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson combo was the one benefit the Lions had on the Bears, but now it seems as though Chicago can easily match Detroit's point production.
Not to mention, Stafford has not been himself in 2012.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford has four TD passes this season. The #Bears defense has scored five TDs in 2012.— Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman) October 19, 2012
If Stafford can snap out of his rut, then the Lions will have every opportunity to pull off the upset. But since Chicago also fields a tough defense and will have home-field advantage, it wouldn't be wise to expect top-notch production out of the Lions' offense.
Score: Bears 28, Lions 23
Note: All spread and over/under information is courtesy of Odds Shark.
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