Back-to-back wins over the Jets and Bills have put the Bears at 5-3 and on top of the NFC North at the halfway mark. They enter a stretch that will make or break their run for the division title with three games against NFC North opponents in a 12-day span.
The Lions are first up Sunday and the Vikings the following Sunday night, Nov. 18. Finally a Thanksgiving Day rematch with Detroit caps off the run.
While New York and Buffalo aren’t considered powerhouses by any means, the Bears have looked in sync the last two weeks on both sides of the ball and have done it without some valuable missing parts.
Khalil Mack has not played a down in two games while nursing an ankle injury the defensive end sustained weeks ago. His absence has been missed but the Bears defense has stepped up to fill the void and did so in a big way last week generating four takeaways, two touchdowns and four sacks in a 41-9 victory over Buffalo.
Offensively, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has been without one of his key targets in wide receiver Allen Robinson, also recovering from injury. They only ran 46 plays against Buffalo last Sunday - thanks in no small part to the stellar defensive effort – but still managed three touchdowns.
The Lions are heading in the other direction and their record dropped to 3-5 after a 24-9 loss on the road to Minnesota last Sunday.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford literally ran for his life about the whole game. He was sacked 10 times for a loss of 56 yards and also hit 17 times. Basically under pressure for four quarters, Stafford finished with just 199 passing yards with zero touchdowns on 25-of-36 completions.
The general consensus around the team is a lack of execution. “No, I mean, fundamentals and execution is what’s holding us back right now,” said head coach Matt Patricia. “That’s where we got to start.”
A sputtering offense will have a difficult time getting back to what Patricia is searching for against a stout Bears defense. On a positive note, Detroit’s defense was solid in the Vikings game as it held quarterback Kirk Cousins to only 164 passing yards while also picking him off once.
Mack was expected back last week against Buffalo and that did not happen. Once again he is listed questionable as is Robinson but both have been deemed on the doorstep to return to action “any day now,” according to the coaching staff and both practiced this week.
Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel has been on limited practice because of a knee strain but should be in the line-up.
There are a slew of injuries that will limit a number of Lions including running backs Kerryon Johnson (ankle) and LeGarrette Blount (knee). Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder), linebacker Eli Harold (shoulder), linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin and tight end Luke Willson (shoulder) are also listed as limited.
Also, T.J. Lang missed practice completely with a neck injury, just the latest in a series of problems for the veteran offensive lineman. He's also been slowed by head, back and hip injuries this year and played in just one full game.
Star cornerback Darius Slay sat out practice this week with a knee injury he's been nursing for days.
Here are some things for NFL betting fans to consider in this matchup:
The Lions have won three straight and nine of their past 10 meetings with Chicago. While the Bears have that two-game winning streak, take into consideration the opponents in Buffalo and the Jets.
Detroit has its challenges but is a much more formidable challenge in a schedule for Chicago has so far included only two teams currently over .500.
Detroit can move the ball and Trubisky remains prone to making mistakes and throwing picks. Chicago will need more on the ground to balance that area of the game with contributions from running backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen.
The Bears might win the game but laying nearly a touchdown is too much. Take the Lions +6.5 with Karamba.
The Bears are fifth in scoring putting up 29.4 points per game. If the defense has some of the day enjoyed against Buffalo last week and can generate points as well as the offense Chicago should carry the score above the line. Bet the over at 888Sport.
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