The Bears managed to do just enough offensively and defensively to withstand the Lions, and will be looking for a second straight win to perhaps get their season back on track a bit on the road at Ford Field.
Last season, the Bears pulled out a close win in Detroit on Thanksgiving. So what are some of the keys to this happening again? Here’s a closer look at the matchup this time around from the Chicago perspective.
Opposing Player to Watch This Time: Allen Robinson, WR.
If there’s one player that can break the game for the Chicago offense, it’s Robinson. He’s been good lately, and is coming off a 131 yard, 1 touchdown performance last week. Against the Lions, he put up a solid 86 yards and ate up the Detroit secondary. As a whole, Robinson has put up 4 touchdowns this season and is the type of big play player that can rescue even the most inconsistent offense or quarterback. Without Robinson, the Bears don’t beat the New York Giants, and he is a significant player to watch this time around that could have a big effort in order to beat Detroit. The Lions need to try and take him away from Mitch Trubisky.
Key Personnel Group This Time: Defensive Line
The Bears didn’t get after the Lions in the pocket as much as they are used to the last time these teams played, with Chicago racking up only 2 sacks on the afternoon for 10 yards lost. Detroit also ran for 98 yards on the day, and is featuring a hot running back in Bo Scarbrough this time around. The Bears didn’t see Scarbrough when they last played, so this will be a challenge for them to shut him down and pressure the quarterback position. The Lions need to measure up against Khalil Mack and company again. If they can keep the pocket clean and get after it in the trenches, they could do just enough to get over the hump this time.
Biggest Name Missing Now: Bobby Massie, T
Chicago’s tackle is going to be sidelined for a while with injury and that’s a tough blow for the Bears considering the importance of protecting the pocket. The last time the teams tangled, Detroit racked up 5 sacks on the day which was a major total for a team which doesn’t pressure the pocket much at all. Massie is a solid player and will be a big loss in this game, especially on the road. Expect the Lions to throw a ton at the Bears up front to test the pocket in his absence.
Biggest Key to Another Victory: Touchdowns
It might seem simplistic to say, but the only reason the Bears were able to win in Chicago was because they found a way into the end zone a few times. If they can muster two or three scores on a day, they can usually win a game with their defense the rest of the way and do just enough to hold on. That’s just what happened in Chicago. Obviously, the Lions defense needs to slow the Bears down and force them to field goals instead of touchdowns. Putting the pressure on a shaky kicking game will only help Detroit’s chances of winning and snapping a losing streak.
Headset Heads Up
Even though the Bears won a few weeks back, Matt Nagy would likely admit that his team needs to be more consistent on offense as a whole against Detroit. Chicago only collected 145 passing yards and a meager 81 on the ground, yet still managed to win thanks to an inopportune turnover by Detroit and a subsequent touchdown. Against one of the worst defenses in the NFL that is also dinged up, the Bears will want to see more consistency on this side of the ball.
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