An In-Depth Preview Of The Lions Week Fifteen Matchup Hosting The Chicago Bears.
Catching Up With The Bears Last Three Weeks
Last time the Lions faced the Bears, I wrote about how Chicago’s main method of success this season has been their ground game. Since we last talked about them in week eleven, the Bears have lost two of their three games. Following their home loss to Detroit, they flew out to Philadelphia to play the Eagles. The Bears lost handily 31-3. On offense this was because of the lack of production from the running game. Trubisky led the team in rushing yards with just 12 yards. The defense as a whole really suffered in this game, only forcing the Eagles to punt twice.
In their following week they ended up losing to the 49ers, who were 1-10 to this point, at home. The gameplan for beating the Bears seams to be simple: stop their running game. Again, the running game was slowed down, as their leading rusher had merely 38 rushing yards in this contest.
Last week, the Bears running game exploded and it earned them their only victory over this three game stretch. Jordan Howard gashed the Cincinatti Bengals to the tune of 147 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie running back Tarik Cohen added 80 yards on 12 carries as well. This Bears team has been going the way of their running game so far this year, so the Lions key matchups should focus around this area.
Key Matchups To Watch For Against Chicago
Jordan Howard vs Jarrad Davis
This was the key matchup I had for the last game, and after Jordan Howard kept the Bears in the last game against the Lions, I feel confident choosing it again. However, one aspect that led to Howard’s success in the last game was when Jarrad Davis was hitting a hot streak for missed tackles. Slowly we have been seeing his missed tackle numbers drop in the past few weeks.
If Davis can keep this progress going, he will likely be a big factor in this game. While his angles still need improving, Davis is one of the quickest reactors on defense. He is incredibly quick to read, diagnose the play, and then attack. The hard part has been finishing, but Davis always being near the ball has been a good sign. To beat the Bears, the Lions must stop Jordan Howard, and it all starts with Jarrad Davis.
Mitchell Trubisky vs Lions Defensive Ends
One of the areas that has really been hurting the Lions the past few seasons have been their defensive ends inability to contain the edge against the run and quarterbacks. In rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky’s first game against the Lions, he had an average game passing. But where he made some plays was with his feet.
The Bears quarterback had 53 yards rushing on 8 carries. These lanes were largely open due to bad angles and over-pursuit by the Lions defensive ends. While Anthony Zettel has had a nice sack production this season, he has been one of the biggest offenders in this category. It will be a very tough game for the Bears if they cannot get either Trubisky or Jordan Howard going.
Josh Sitton vs A’Shawn Robinson
This is a matchup all about power. Sitton has been one of the premier guards in the NFL and has been an animal on the ground game since joining the Chicago Bears. But he may have to rely on technique more, and power less this week as he faces on the stronger lineman in the NFL in A’Shawn Robinson.
While Robinson has had a good year overall against the run, he had one of his worst showings this year against the Chicago Bears in week eleven. The Lions will need him to show up big in this game, as they need to slow this Bears running game down if they want the game to more decisive than their last game, ending 27-24 with the Lions taking the lead with 1:35 left in the game.
Prediction: Lions Win 35-27
Think the Lions wide receivers will have a great game returning home to Ford Field. The turf benefits the Lions quick passing game more than the heavy grass at Soldier Field. However, the Bears running game may be difficult to stop for a Lions run defense that has been trending the wrong way in recent weeks. Ultimately, the Lions offense pulls away too early for the Bears running game to win it for them.