Bears vs. Lions 2013 game preview: Unbeaten Chicago travels to face NFC North rival Detroit

Justin K. Aller

The Chicago Bears are putting their unbeaten record on the line Sunday when they take on the NFC North rival Detroit Lions.

The Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions are each playing well so far this season, but it's the former who has the edge heading into the Week 4 NFC North rivalry matchup. Chicago is unbeaten, with solid wins over the Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers. Detroit is 2-1, also having beaten the Vikings on top of the Washington Redskins.

But Detroit lost its Week 2 matchup, 25-21, to the Arizona Cardinals. It was not a good game for them, and they could have won, but the result survives. Now the best they can hope for is to be tied with the Bears at 3-1 with a head-to-head win in the division. A victory over Chicago would be a big deal given that many are considering the Bears among the top teams in the league at this point.

Let's take a closer look at both teams.

Meet the Lions

Unlike last season, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford hasn't thrown for the most attempts in the NFL, but he's not far off. He ranks eighth in that category with 121 attempts and has completed 77 of them, good for 63.6 percent. He's thrown six touchdowns and two interceptions and is one of four quarterbacks to have already eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark, with 1,020.

Receiver Calvin Johnson has 268 yards and three touchdowns, and he'll be looking to get a lot more on Sunday given that Nate Burleson will be out. Burleson has 239 receiving yards on the season. The interesting wrinkle comes at the running back position, where both Joique Bell and Reggie Bush have run for a similar amount of yards -- 119 for Bell, 115 for Bush -- and have a similar amount of receiving yards -- 177 for Bell, 145 for Bush.

The Bears haven't had the strongest pass defense, though. They've allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for 294.3 yards, so the Lions should come out the gates firing.

Meet the Bears

Chicago has been good at creating turnovers, and that might be the reason it's undefeated at this point. The Bears won their first two games by a total of four points before demolishing the Steelers in Week 3. Chicago's overall stats are a little underwhelming, as they have the No. 21 passing offense, with Jay Cutler throwing for 225.7 yards per game, and the No. 17 rushing offense, at 105.0 yards per game.

On top of that, they have the aforementioned liabilities in the secondary, as they've allowed 294.3 yards to opposing quarterbacks this year. What they've been good at is stopping the run, as they are No. 8 in the league, so the Detroit backs should be in for a rough day.

Cutler has looked good this season, with a 67.3 completion percentage, 693 yards and six touchdowns against three interceptions. He'd like to get a more productive Matt Forte in the fold, though. Forte has 55 rushes for 225 yards and two touchdowns. He's also the teams second-leading receiver with 18 receptions for 138 yards.

Local Takes: Lions

Sean Yuille of Pride of Detroit notes that the Bears haven't had the best pass defense and this could mean big things for Matthew Stafford and the Lions:

The Bears have allowed opposing quarterbacks to pass for an average of 305 yards through the first three weeks of the season. If you factor in sacks and take the yardage lost from them out of the equation, the Bears rank 24th in passing yards allowed. If you go by yards per attempt allowed, the Bears are 29th, giving up an average of 8.8 yards per pass. (The Lions, by comparison, are 18th and 14th in those categories.) Considering the Lions are currently second in the NFL in passing yards, this matchup seems to favor them, even with Nate Burleson out.

Local Takes: Bears


Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Pride of Detroit and Windy City Gridiron, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

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Four of the SB Nation experts picked the Bears to win this game on the road. The lone dissenter was Joel Thorman, who thinks the Lions will hold.


The Lions opened as 3-point favorites, but the line has moved closer to even on some books, according to OddsShark.

Next Week

The Lions will hit the road to take on the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 6. The Bears will return home to host the New Orleans Saints on the same day.

More from SB Nation NFL:

Bois: Let's bring Brian Hoyer down a peg | Breaking Madden

Week 4 picks: Can the Chiefs, Bears stay perfect? | Picks against the spread

Chilton: Are NFL ground games grounded?

The Notebook: Trouble with Chip's system

NFL power rankings: Only 7 undefeated teams left

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