The 2016 season has gotten off to a rocky start for the Chicago Bears as they’ve lost their first three games, but they’ll try again to get on the board with a win as they welcome the Detroit Lions to Soldier Field on Sunday.
Things haven’t gone well for the Bears against their NFC North rivals in recent years, as they’ve lost six consecutive games to Detroit and haven’t beaten the Lions since 2012. To further complicate matters, the Bears have lost six consecutive games at Soldier Field and have not won a game at their home stadium in nearly a year, with their last victory coming against the Oakland Raiders on Oct. 4, 2015.
So how can the Bears get off on the right foot and finally take down both their losing streak to Detroit and their losing streak on their home turf? We have five players to keep an eye on for the Bears as they look to accomplish those goals.
The Bears’ kicker hasn’t had many opportunities to showcase his skills this season, as he’s 1-for-2 on field goal attempts, but he could become a factor in Sunday’s game at Soldier Field. Kicking on the lakefront is always a difficult proposition, but when every point counts and your first attempt at home went as poorly as Barth’s did, the pressure is ratcheted up just that little bit more.
With Danny Trevathan likely out of the lineup with a thumb injury, Freeman instantly becomes a critically important piece in the middle of the Bears’ defense. He currently leads the team in tackles by a wide margin with 34, and he’s also shown his chops in pass coverage as well this season.
He is a constant disrupting presence against opponents, and going up against a Lions offense that has been largely sound this year, he’ll need to be at his best if the Bears are going to have a chance to win.
When the Bears drafted Howard in 2016, they did so with the idea that he could be a great component of a 1-2 punch with Jeremy Langford, but Sunday will be the Howard show almost exclusively. Langford is out for the game with an injury, and with Ka’Deem Carey’s status still up in the air, Howard is going to get plenty of touches against a Lions defense that is one of the worst in the NFL against the run this season.
The Lions have one of the best passing attacks in the NFL, and the Bears are going to need a big-time performance out of their secondary to keep those guys in check. With players like Marvin Jones and Golden Tate, Matthew Stafford still has plenty of weapons to utilize, and Porter’s ability to make plays on the football could come in handy during Sunday’s tilt.
Alshon Jeffery has been ruled questionable for Sunday’s game, and it would be a huge boost for the Bears if White can finally start showcasing some of the talent that led the team to take him with the seventh overall pick in 2015. A good showing with his speed and agility showcased would not only look good for him, but could also be the difference between a Bears victory and a fourth straight loss to open the season.