Thu, Nov 7, 2:51pm by Ed Scimia
Match: Chicago Bears v Detroit Lions
When & where: 4.00am (AEST) Monday, November 11, Soldier Field, Chicago
Bet on the game with: Sportsbet.com.au and get a first bet bonus of up to $100
LAST week, Chicago walked into Green Bay with a backup quarterback and walked out with a tie for first in the NFC North division. Now, it’ll be looking to build on that success when taking on the Detroit Lions at home in an attempt to break that tie and start its second half playoff push.
The Bears, the Packers and the Detroit Lions now all sit at 5-3 halfway through the season, and all three have reason to believe they could ultimately come out on top in the divisional race. But, it’s sure to be a tough battle down the stretch, and one that has become tougher for Chicago and Green Bay, both of which have lost starting quarterbacks to injury.
Bears starting qarterback Jay Cutler is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Lions. But if the Bears proved anything last week, it’s that their offense can perform just find behind Josh McCown, as the veteran proved he’s a capable backup – something that few teams have in today’s NFL.
McCown threw for 272 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers, so, even if he has to play again this week, that’s only a minor downgrade to the Bears’ chances. In fact, his solid play may even give the Bears a reason to hold out Cutler an extra week just to ensure he’s healthy.
Meanwhile, the Detroit Lions are coming off their bye week with absolutely no questions about how potent their offense can be. Two weeks ago against Dallas, the Lions scored a 31-30 win behind an incredible 329 yards receiving from Calvin Johnson. That was a new NFL record for a game that did not go into overtime (and the second highest total ever, period). The game was capped with yet another impressive drive from quarterback Matthew Stafford, who ended it with a one-yard surprise run in the final seconds to beat the Cowboys.
Stafford has struggled historically playing in Chicago, and the Bears defence will once again be looking to hold him and the receiving corps in check. They’ll need to do so if they want to win this game, as in the first clash between these teams earlier this season, Detroit won at home 40-32. Stafford had a solid – but not outstanding – game that day, throwing for 242 yards and a touchdown. But running back Reggie Bush put on a show, running for 139 yards on the ground as part of a balanced attack. Detroit also scored a key defensive touchdown in the second half that helped put the game out of reach.
There’s no doubt that this game should be a lower scoring game than the first encounter. Not only will the outdoors and the cold weather be favourable for the defence, but 72 points is a lot to ask of any two teams. In fact, I think this will be a fairly tight encounter the whole way, with both offenses able to move the ball, but without the game turning into a shootout.
In the end, I have to go with the team that’s healthier here, and that’s the Lions. They may have trouble playing in Chicago, but with so much talent on offense, I think they’ll get the job done – and with a small line of just one point, I also expect them to cover the spread.
Prediction: Detroit 27, Chicago 24
Pick: Detroit -1 @ Sportsbet.com.au
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