On the field, the group will have to deal with a familiar referee. According to Football Zebras, Carl Cheffers has been assigned duty for the NFC North matchup. If that name sounds familiar to Lions fans, it’s because Cheffers was the referee behind another one of Detroit’s notable run ins with the referees.
Back in 2015, the Lions were beaten by an Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary pass. The play only happened because of a face mask call which Cheffers made. Replays showed the Lions did not grasp Rodgers’ face mask, thus the penalty was a bogus call.
Confronted with questions on the call a year later by Justin Rogers of the Detroit News, Cheffers responded that he wasn’t looking at the play again, because “it’s 2016, dude.”
Cheffers has not called a Detroit game since a tangle with the Cleveland Browns back in 2017. Similarly, the Bears have not seen him since the opener to the 2018 season in Green Bay. Overall, Cheffers has been a referee since 2008, making him one of the longest tenured officials still remaining in the NFL.
Bad Lions Defense vs. Bad Bears Offense
When Cheffers is on the call, he will have to deal with a couple extremes on either sides of the football. The Lions and Bears will compete in a matchup of two weaknesses on either side. In terms of Detroit, the defense has left plenty to be desired in a tough start to the season.
After Detroit was roughed up by the Oakland Raiders, the Lions slipped to near the bottom of the league in multiple categories. They are now second to last in total defense, giving up 424 yards per-game. Worse, the Lions have only forced 12 turnovers this season, which is a middle of the pack total. They haven’t gotten better at getting the ball back.
In terms of the rush, they have allowed 1,086 yards and are surrendering an ugly 135 yards per game on the ground. Those totals are good for a bottom 10 mark in the entire league against Detroit’s competition. Ironically, Detroit’s been staying in games due in large part to their offense.
Obviously, some things have to change over the second half of the season in order for the Lions to claw back to potential contention for a possible playoff run.
Chicago’s offense, meanwhile, hasn’t been much better. The Bears rank only four spots off dead last in the NFL, only managing 266 yards per game. Their passing offense only puts up 186 yards per-game, the third worst total in the league. On the ground, things aren’t much better, with the Bears only picking up just over 80 yards a game.
In other words, something’s gotta give.
Lions vs. Bears Recent Results
Detroit was swept by Chicago last season, who packed a powerful defensive punch and an offense which was much better than the outfit the team is running in 2019. The Lions were outscored 57-38, and Detroit was blown out early at Solider Field and had to claw back into the game. This year, the Bears’ offense might not be capable of putting up such numbers, so they will need to rely on their defense forcing turnovers and making Detroit uncomfortable, which they did easily last year.
Prior to 2018, the Lions had won nine games out of 10 in the rivalry, and Detroit will be looking to get back to such dominance on the field against their other hated rival.
They will have to do so against a referee who made a notable call against them.