The Chicago Bears are coming off of a stinging loss to the Green Bay Packers, but they won’t get much of a reprieve as they’ll take on the Detroit Lions this week at Soldier Field.
The Bears, who were unable to stop Brett Hundley and the short-handed Packers in their last game, will now have to face one of the NFL’s most potent passing offenses. Matthew Stafford and the Lions are averaging 254.3 yards per game through the air, and with talented pass catchers like Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr. in the mix, the Bears’ secondary is going to have a big task on its hands.
The Bears’ secondary has proven itself to a degree this season, giving up 205 yards per game, 10th-best in the NFL. They were exposed a bit against Green Bay, as Kyle Fuller’s propensity to play off the line of scrimmage and to try to make aggressive plays on the ball, rather than jamming receivers at the point of attack, proved to be a liability against Hundley and company.
While those numbers are intriguing, the real question is going to be whether or not the Bears can take advantage of Detroit’s weaknesses. The Lions give up nearly 250 yards per game through the air, but even with Mitchell Trubisky at the helm the Bears have been one of the league’s worst passing attacks, averaging under 170 yards per game this season.
That could be changing, with Dontrelle Inman giving Trubisky another passing option and with Dowell Loggains opening up the playbook a bit, but the rookie quarterback will have to showcase better footwork and quicker decision-making skills if he’s going to work against an average-to-below-average line.
The Bears’ standard tactic of running the ball may not work against Detroit either. The Bears average just under 122 yards per game on the ground, but Detroit’s rushing defense is one of the best in football, allowing just a shade over 100 yards per game to opposing rushers.
That clash of strengths will be a key, as it will likely force the Bears to go to the air more often than they have in most of the games Trubisky has started.
In the big picture, this game will feature some interesting subplots, but it means a lot to the Lions, who are facing a tough Minnesota team on Thanksgiving. A short-turnaround and the two-game gap that they face in the NFC North could leave them looking ahead just a bit, and if the Bears can take advantage of that, and finally get their passing game going, then they could give Detroit some issues on Sunday afternoon.