This marks the second meeting between the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears in the past four weeks. This time, the Bears will have a new face under center in Jimmy Clausen. This will be Clausen’s first start since 2010 with the Carolina Panthers.
Bear Goggles On
The report of Jay Cutler’s benching for Clausen came as a huge shock to many NFL fans. Yes, Cutler has been bad, but so has the rest of the team. Cutler had just received a new contract earlier in the year worth $126 million and $54 million guaranteed over seven years. That’s right. The Bears are stuck with Cutler until 2021 unless they’re able to dump the massive contract on an unfortunate customer.
Bears general manager Phil Emery made it pretty clear he wanted Jay Cutler to be the Bears’ QB until the end of his career. One year later and he’s warming the bench for this guy. You can’t make this stuff up folks.
Despite Cutler and the rest of the offense catching a ton of heat as of late, Chicago’s defense has been their weakest link. According to Football Outsiders, the Bears are ranked 29th in defensive DVOA, and 31st in weighted DVOA (weighted towards recent games).
The Bears are currently allowing 272.2 passing yards per game (31st), and 382.4 total yards per game (30th) to opposing offenses on the season. The Lions were able to put up 34 points on the Bears in their last meeting. I don’t expect this time to be any different.
S Chris Conte – Back – Out
K Robbie Gould – Quadricep – Out
CB Tim Jennings – Ankle – Questionable
G Kyle Long – Hip – Quesetionable
NT Jeremiah Ratliff – Knee – Questionable
DT Will Sutton – Illness – Questionable
CB Kyle Fuller – Hand – Probable
LB Shea McClellin – Ankle – Probable
The Lions are favored by 4.5 points via Vegas Insider
Keys To Winning
I probably say this every week, but putting pressure on the quarterback will be key. This week is especially true. Jimmy Clausen hasn’t started a game in four years and probably isn’t used to seeing a defensive line like Detroit’s. Clausen will be in for a world of hurt this Sunday.
Detroit’s offense needs to get Calvin Johnson involved early and often. In their last three meetings combined, Johnson has caught five touchdowns against the Bears. His best performance of the year came at home on Thanksgiving against Chicago, after catching 11 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns.
With Kyle Fuller still dealing with a nagging hand injury, I expect Stafford to look Megatron’s way fairly often.
Did I mention that Jimmy Clausen hasn’t started a game in the NFL since 2010? Yeah, this one isn’t going to be pretty by any means. I expect a similar ending to the Thanksgiving Day beating the Lions handed the Bears four weeks ago.
Megatron catches 13 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown. Theo Riddick gets involved early and disappears during the second half. Brandon Pettigrew goes AWOL while Ebron scores his second touchdown of the year. And Lions fans rejoice as their team clinches the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Final Score: Lions 31 – Bears 13