The Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears are set for an important NFC North showdown in Week 10. There is a three-way tie for the lead in the division, with the Bears besting the Green Bay Packers in Week 9. Detroit is trying to shrug off a string of alternating wins and losses by building on their Week 8 victory over the Dallas Cowboys (they had a bye week last week), while Chicago is riding high after a win over Green Bay without Jay Cutler.
Detroit won the first meeting between these two teams in Week 4, 40-32. That game was in Detroit as well, so the Bears have a lot to prove on Sunday. It should be plenty interesting.
We'll take a look at both teams below, starting with the home team, Chicago:
Meet the Bears
The Bears made it through the game against Green Bay without Jay Cutler at the helm, which is huge. Josh McCown started in his place and performed well, but the Lions will be a tough task as well. McCown now has more film for Detroit to study, though Cutler could still return.
Either way, the Bears are well-rounded on offense. They boast the No. 14 passing attack in the NFL with 256.9 passing yards per game, and the No. 13 rushing attack with 120.1 rushing yards per game. Unfortunately, their defense isn't quite as balanced. The pass defense has been abysmal in comparison to recent years. It's taken a definitive step backward.
Against Matthew Stafford and the Lions' offense, that just won't do. They can't allow the Lions to put up 40 points again, or they'll surely lose.
Meet the Lions
As usual, the Lions throw the ball an awful lot. As such, Stafford leads the No. 2 passing offense in the NFL, at 317.9 passing yards per game. The rushing attack isn't awful, but it's nothing to write home about at 98.1 rushing yards per game.
Calvin Johnson is the guy to watch for, as is the case every single week for the Lions. They bank on teams not being able to cover him, though the Bears did well enough in the first meeting. Johnson had four receptions for 44 yards, including a touchdown, in that first game. Reggie Bush was the hero in that one, rushing for 139 yards and a touchdown off of 18 carries.
Last time these two teams met, the trends flipped. However, either way you approach the teams, the Lions just look like a better squad right now, especially if Cutler doesn't play. It will be interesting to see if the Lions come out running as they did in the first game.
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SB Nation's NFL experts were divided on this game. Four of the six experts picked the Lions to win this one, with Ryan Van Bibber and David Fucillo being the dissenters who picked Chicago.
Detroit opened up as 3.5-point favorites, according to OddsShark. The line narrowed throughout the week, however, with home-field advantage definitely playing a factor. Some sites had the Lions favored by as few as 1.5 points.