The Green Bay Packers are the clear favorites of the NFC North, but the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears are still legitimate contenders.
The race for the playoffs and NFC Wild Card spots is going to be very tight this year, so each game is of dire importance for both the Lions and the Bears.
Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
When: Sunday, Nov. 13 at 4:15 p.m. EDT
Watch: Fox; DirecTV 711.
Listen: Lions—Sirius 94. Bears—Sirius 92.
Live Streaming: NFL.com Audio Pass ($29.99 for year; $27.99 team specific; $9.99 a month)
Betting Line: Chicago Bears (-3)
What's At Stake?
The Lions and the Bears are currently ranked the fifth- and sixth-best teams in the NFC, respectively.
They are currently in battle with the Atlanta Falcons, who are right outside receiving a playoff berth in the conference.
Obviously there are many games left to be played and the situation will change as we get closer to season's end, but that doesn't mean every game doesn't count.
In a tight race like this, it could be extremely important down the stretch.
Bears Injury Report
Gabe Carimi, T: Knee (Out)
Devin Hester, WR: Ankle (Questionable)
Julius Peppers, DE: Knee (Probable)
Major Wright, S: Ankle (Probable)
Lions Injury Report
Javid Best, RB: Concussion (Out)
Brandon Pettigrew, TE: Elbow (Probable)
Matthew Stafford, QB: Finger (Probable)
Jason Hanson, K: Knee (Probable)
Fantasy Start 'Em, Sit 'Em and Sleeper
Start: Matt Forte, RB (Chicago Bears)
I'm not sure there is ever a week to sit Matt Forte. If there is, this isn't it; last week Forte dismantled the Philadelphia Eagles in their nine-wide defensive scheme.
The Detroit Lions have struggled against the run all season, and they run a very similar scheme to that of the Eagles.
Look for Forte to demonstrate similar success on the ground.
Sit: Jay Cutler, QB (Chicago Bears)
Jay Cutler was surprisingly effective last week against the Philadelphia Eagles and it appears Chicago may have figured something out giving Cutler max protection.
I would expect the Bears to come out with a very similar scheme this weekend. However, it's a little risky to put that much faith in Cutler based off that one performance.
There are many better options out there at quarterback this week. The Bears will likely rely heavy on Forte. Stay away from Cutler until we see if he continues to make steps in the right direction.
Sleeper: Maurice Morris, RB (Detroit Lions)
Maurice Morris has stepped in for Javid Best and played very well over the last few weeks.
In the two weeks before, the bye Morris had 50 yards in one game, and 58 yards and a touchdown in the other.
It may not seem like much, but he received just nine carries and 13 carries in the contests, respectively. The Lions don't run the ball often, but when they do run against the Bears, they should have some success.
Chicago is currently allowing 5.2 yards per carry.
Keys to Chicago Win:
Chicago needs to play almost an exact replica of the game they played against Philadelphia on Monday night.
The Detroit Lions are a team built very similar to that of the Eagles and defensively, they are very similar; offensively the Lions have big play potential that needs to be shut down.
If Chicago plays like they did on Monday, they will walk away with another win.
Keys to Detroit Win:
If Detroit wants to win this game, they need to pick it up on the defensive side of the ball. In their two losses the team really struggled stopping the run.
They are going to have their hands full with one of the best running backs in the league this weekend. If they can key in on Forte and somewhat contain him, they will have a shot.
Prediction: 27-24, Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears made a statement against the Philadelphia Eagles in the national spotlight on Monday Night Football.
The Bears need to play a very similar game this weekend—max protection for Cutler and a lot of carries for Matt Forte.
If the defense can create just a couple turnovers, that's all this Bears team should need to pull off a close win.