Lions-Bears Key Matchups: Detroit Must Stop Khalil Mack Domination

Khalil Mack Matthew Stafford

Getty Khalil Mack pounds Matthew Stafford in Chicago.

The Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears are two teams headed in a similarly miserable direction as they meet for the first time in 2019. So obviously, the winner of the game will come out with perhaps some newfound momentum as they try to get things on a stable track for the rest of the season.

Both teams have some similar strengths and similar limitations, albeit on different sides of the ball. So what key matchups must go Detroit’s way if they want a shot at winning the game?

Here’s a look at the key matchups to watch when the game gets going.

Khalil Mack vs. Taylor Decker

Last season, Decker got his lunch money stolen by Mack. It was a bad day all around for the tackle, who was pushed around and hammered at the point of attack to the tune of a miserable afternoon protecting Matthew Stafford. Those failures helped contribute to Detroit’s offense sputtering out multiple times early in the game and the Lions falling behind. This year, Decker has to step up and find a way to play more consistent football in the trenches, especially against Mack, who is a very tough competitor. In his career, Mack has 2 sacks, 14 tackles and 4 tackles for loss against the Lions. He can dominate, but it can’t happen this week.

David Montgomery vs. Detroit’s Defensive Front

Detroit’s defense has not stopped the run well. They were hammered on the first few drives by Oakland’s Josh Jacobs, and need to re-establish some dominance up front. Chicago’s duo of Montgomery and Tarik Cohen can be dangerous, so the Lions have to make sure they can man up in the trenches. The good news? Chicago’s rush offense has been pretty dismal in 2019, so Detroit should have a chance to step up in this matchup. The Bears can’t get anything going on the ground. Detroit has to make them one dimensional up front by snuffing out the rookie Montgomery. If they get anything going on the ground, it could be a long day.

Mitch Trubisky vs. Matt Patricia

Simply put, the entire city of Chicago seems to have lost faith in Trubisky, their young quarterback. He’s played a few decent games against Detroit thus far in his young career, so it’s up to Patricia to be able to come up with an appropriate game plan to shut him down and limit his effectiveness. Trubisky panics in the pocket, so the Lions have to throw looks at him to confuse and get more pressure on the quarterback than they have in recent weeks. Trubisky carved Detroit up last season, so not allowing him time to get into the offense and find some wideouts should be a huge goal of Detroit.

Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara vs. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones

Last week, the beat went on for the Lions in terms of getting elite play out of the wideout spot on the field. Golladay and Jones each had a touchdown against the Raiders and piled up the big play and yardage. Detroit will need that out of them again if they are to win this matchup against the Bears. Chicago can play sticky pass defense with a more talented defensive backfield, so Detroit will have to find a way to make a few more plays at wideout in order to move the ball and stay hot. So far, nobody has slowed this duo down, so it’s a tall order for the Bears to do so even though they are playing at home and have a talented squad on the back end.

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