Monday Night Football: 5 Bold Predictions for the Chicago Bears vs. Lions
Prior to the start of the season, most people outside of Detroit would have assumed the Bears vs. Lions matchup on Monday night would have been a lopsided Bears victory. But that is why we play the game.
The Lions have played unreal this season, and the Bears, not so much. Stafford is playing like an animal and Calvin Johnson is just toying with opponents.
The Bears, on the other hand. have been on a roller coaster ride. Up one week beating the Falcons, down the next two against the Packers and Saints, then squeaking out a victory at home against Cam Newton and the Panthers.
The Lions are currently favored by 5.5 points, and then depending on which Bears team shows up, this game could be very entertaining.
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Yes, it is not incredibly bold to say that the Bears will beat the Lions. But the Lions have been playing lights out this year, and the Bears generally fold like a deck of cards when playing at night on prime time.
If you go by the averages the Bears will lose this game by 10 points. The Lions are putting 33.8 PPG which is good enough for second in the NFL in scoring, while the Bears are posting a middle of the road 23.5 PPG.
Bears fans remember "good Rex" and "bad Rex"; it was unknown which Rex Grossman would show up. Now its "good Bears" and "bad Bears." If the "good Bears" show up, pass effectively and excel at special teams, they will win this game.
However, if the "bad "Bears" can't stop the Lions defensive line and fail to establish a running game, then it will be a long night for the Bears.
Matt Stafford Throws for Less Than 225 Yards
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But the Bears are tired of being embarrassed by elite passers and giving up the fourth most passing yards in the NFL at 301.5 YPG.
They will not allow Stafford to continue to effortlessly lob the ball up and let Calvin Johnson do the rest. The defensive line is going to get at Stafford. I expect Peppers and Melton to take down Stafford more than once and will be in his face all night.
The Bears defense does tend to give up a lot of yards, because it bends but does not break, but the Bears will be on their "A" game for this prime time NFC North showdown.
Jay Cutler's QB Rating Will Be over 100
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Jay Cutler's QB rating for the season is 77.8, and the Lions are allowing an average QB rating of 74.5, so on paper this prediction looks ridiculousness.
Cutler's season stats are skewed because of his 100 yard game against the Panthers last week because he only threw 17 passes. Cutler has thrown for over 300 yards in two of their four games despite being on pace to be sacked 60 times this year.
Lets face it, Cutler has very little to work with, which is more than evident when the running back, Matt Forte, is the best weapon in the passing game. But even though he has little to work with, he will still get the job done.
Forte has established himself as a threat on the ground after his 205 yards rushing against the Panthers last week. This will free up passing lanes and make the defense bite harder on play action.
This will give Cutler more time, and when given time, he is deadly.
Calvin Johnson Will Not Score Two Touchdowns
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Calvin Johnson has started this year on a ridiculous pace. He has 321 yards receiving and eight touchdowns and has had two touchdowns in every game this season.
Calvin Johnson will not get his usual two touchdowns simply because he can not continue on that pace. Also, the Bears defensive backs are extremely hard hitters, more so than he has seen thus far this season.
Stafford doesn't even have to try or be accurate when throwing to Calvin Johnson because Calvin can out jump anyone and comes down with everything. The Bears defensive backs are going to knock a lot of those passes out of his hands as he is coming back down to Earth.
I also wouldn't be surprised if Tillman forces Calvin Johnson to cough up the ball.
The Bears Defense Will Hold the Lions to Fewer Than 300 Yards on Offense
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The Bears defense has not been their usual monsters of the midway as in pervious seasons. They have been uncharacteristically bad and are giving up the second most yards in the NFL at 425.8 yards per game.
The Bears have probably faced the best combination of quarterbacks this year in Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton. All of these quarterbacks are above Stafford's status. If Stafford stays healthy, he will be in this elite category, but that is yet to be seen.
This game is not going to be a repeat of Cam Newton. The Bears are going to be able to slow down the Lions' passing game, and the Lions' running game is not great to begin with.
The Bears defense is the key to winning this matchup against the Lions. If they play like they are capable of playing, then the Bears should walk all over the Lions.