This game was attractive when the league released the schedule back in April; now the only question is whether or not the Lions can stay competitive for four quarters.
At just 2-3, the Lions have a chance to get a little momentum going in a season that seemed to hit rock bottom with a Week 4, 20-13 home loss to the Minnesota Vikings. But with a home game against the Seattle Seahawks, followed by a road contest with the Jacksonville on the horizon, Detroit could again find itself planted firmly in the NFC playoff picture.
Things still don't seem quite right with quarterback Matthew Stafford. This time last year, he was the talk of the NFL for all the right reasons. This year, however, he and the Lions have sputtered out of the gate.
The 4-1 Bears lead a tough NFC North and are relatively healthy coming off their bye week. Currently riding a three-game winning streak, Chicago has a fairly easy schedule leading up to Week 10's home game with the Houston Texans.
Super Bowl preview anyone?
If the Bears continue to play strong defense (ranked fourth in yardage at 291.2 YPG and first in points at 14.2 PPG, entering Monday night), remain healthy and quarterback Jay Cutler can minimize his mistakes while leaning on Matt Forte and Michael Bush out of the backfield, they could sneak past the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants as the class of the NFC.
Here is one bold prediction for each team in Monday's matchup:
Matthew Stafford Throws for 350 Yards and 3 Touchdowns
You wouldn't think that Stafford's signature game would come against a stingy Bears defense. However, the Lions should be playing catchup for much of the game and Chicago is first in the league at defending the run, allowing just 65.8 yards per game.
If Detroit is to keep things close on Monday night, it will be because Stafford is able to exploit the Bears' aggressiveness by leaning on the size and strength of wide receiver Calvin Johnson and tight end Brandon Pettigrew.
Stafford will have plenty of chances to pad his stats. And although it may result in a loss, the more important outcome could be whether or not he is able to get his season back on track.
A win would just be icing on the cake.
Who wins this game?
Bears Defense Scores 2 Defensive Touchdowns
The Bears defense ranks first in the NFL in interceptions (13) and defensive touchdowns (5), eighth in sacks (18) and has forced six fumbles on its opponents. While the Lions don't give away the football often—only seven through five games—the Bears will stop at nothing to disrupt Stafford.
Chicago should be in control of this game all night long, forcing Stafford to throw the ball more than he would like to.
The Bears will be aggressive, resulting in big plays in the passing game for the Lions, but it will also produce the chance at multiple turnovers.
With Chicago's propensity to score on defense, look for Cutler and the offense to breath a little easier with the help of Charles Tillman and Co.