Can the Chicago Bears end their losing streak on Sunday? The Detroit Lions come to town for a NFC North showdown
The Chicago Bears (3-6) take on the Detroit Lions (2-6) at Solider Field on Sunday at Noon. The Bears will look to try to end their two game losing streak and get their first win versus a NFC North opponent. The Lions are coming into the game trying to continue their winning ways after beating the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Here is a position by position breakdown of the Lions:
Quarterback: Jared Goff got off to a great start this season and after four games he had 11 touchdowns passes, 4 interceptions and averaging 282 passing yards per game. However since week 4, he has 3 touchdowns, 4 interceptions and averaging 228 passing yards per game. Goff’s record as the Lions starting quarterback is 5-16-1 and the Lions could trade or release Goff after the season with only a $10 million dollar salary cap hit. Currently, the Lions would have the 5th overall pick in the upcoming draft which is stocked with college quarterbacks that are thought of highly by NFL scouts.
Running Back: Coming into the season, the Lions had planned to rely on D’Andre Swift to be their breakout star on offense however the third year has only played five games this season due to ankle and shoulder injuries. When Swift has played, he has been great as he is averaging 7.3 yards per attempt. Swift is questionable for the game Sunday vs the Bears.
Jamaal Williams has stepped into the starters role and has provide some quality production. Williams has eight rushing touchdowns this season which is only behind the Titans Derrick Henry and Browns Nick Chubb. The Lions have rushed for over 100 yards in seven out of eight games this year. The Bears have the second-worst rush defense in the league and the Bears need to be prepared to deal with this successful rushing attack of the Lions.
Offensive Line: Despite some draft failings in the past, the Lions have done a great job of drafting and developing their offensive line. Four of the five starters that have played the most snaps this season were drafted by the team. This unit has allowed only 13 sacks which is the fourth fewest in the league. In addition, the Lions rank in the top ten in run block win rate this season and as mentioned before has only had one game that they rush for less than 100 yards.
The star of this group is center Frank Ragnow. Ragnow has only allowed one sack this season and only committed one penalty this season. He ranked in the top ten for highest run block for a center this past week. The Lions rushing attack starts up front and the Bears defensive line will need to be ready for this offensive line on Sunday.
Wide Receiver: The passing game of the Lions got off to a great start this season however in two out of the last three games the passing game has failed to surpass 200 passing yards. The leading receiver for the Lions is Amon-Ra St. Brown who also leads the teams in target, receptions and receiving touchdowns. Last season, St. Brown set the franchise rookie record for receiving yards and lead the Lions in receiving in 2021.
This season, he has had the only 100 yard receiving game for the Lions this season. The other two wide receivers Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond have lead the Lions in receiving in three and two games respectively this season. This group of wide receivers is nothing like the explosive group of wide receivers that the Bears faced last week vs the Dolphins.
Tight End: The Lions just traded TJ Hockenson to the Vikings at the NFL trade deadline. Hockenson was second on the team in receiving yards and led the team in yards per reception. Hockenson who was drafted 8th overall in the 2019 Draft had an inconsistent career with the Lions and was due to make more than $9 million dollars next season which played a factor in him being traded.
Tight End Brock Wright who started at times when Hockenson was injured made the start vs the Packers on Sunday. Wright got one target however his back up Shane Zylstra did catch a touchdown pass from Goff on Sunday. The Bears have held seven out of eight tight ends they have faced this season to less than 40 yards receiving this season and should have no problem with these two tight ends.
Defensive Line: The Lions have the second fewest sacks in the league and this defensive line has been dreadful and only has one player who has more than one sack and more than two tackles for loss. The star of this defensive line has been rookie Aidan Hutchinson. Hutchinson leads all rookies in the NFL in sacks, quarterback hits and pressures. He leads the Lions in all of those categories as well.
But the rookie defensive lineman has struggled with consistency after getting three sacks vs the Commanders in Week 2, Hutchinson has struggled to beat the double teams that he is seeing now as the only viable pass rusher the Lions have.
As I mentioned earlier, the Lions would have the 5th pick in this year’s draft and they could go after one of the highly regarded defensive lineman such as Alabama Will Anderson and Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter.
Linebackers: The Lions have second worst rush defense in the league and are giving up 148.8 rushing yards per game. The team had one of their best performances of the season versus the Packers giving up 108 yards rushing which is the second fewest rushing yards they have allowed all season. One of the best players in that game was linebacker Derrick Barnes. Barnes lead the tackles with 12 and added a sack as well. He was also graded the best run stopper by PFF from the game on Sunday.
The Lions linebackers have struggled with mobile quarterbacks this season giving up 90 rushing yards to Jalen Hurts in Week 1 and gave up over 40 rushing yards to Geno Smith and Aaron Rodgers. Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell has vowed to have a spy on Justin Fields on Sunday to decrease his rushing yards and opportunities.
Secondary: This unit, has underperformed as well with inability to get takeaways and cover any wide receivers. Even though the Lions got 3 takeaways on Sunday versus the Packers, they still gave up 283 yards passing to Aaron Rodgers. The secondary is giving up 8.1 yards per attempt which is the worst in the league and 268.5 yards per game.
Earlier this season, the Lions fired defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator Aubrey Pleasant after the loss to the Dolphins. The Bears should be able to move the ball through the air against this atrocious secondary.
Kicking: Kicker Coming into the season, Austin Seibert was the kicker however he was released from the team after missing two field goals versus the Vikings. Michael Badgley is the now the starter and has brought some stability and consistency to the position. Badgley has made all of his field goal and extra point attempts since becoming the starting kicker in week after 7 vs the Cowboys. Badgley was on the Bears roster earlier this season because of absence of Cairo Santos to deal with a personal issue and made four field goals for the Bears in the lost to the Giants in Week 4.
Punter Jack Fox is tenth in the league with 49.1 yards per punt and the Lions have given up 185 return yards which is the fifth worst in the league. The weather on Sunday is expected to be clear with a wind of 10 MPH so the kicking game should not be affected by the weather.
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