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There is a logjam atop the NFC North after a strong showing by the Chicago Bears (5-3) on Monday Night Football that saw backup QB Josh McCown lead his team to a 27-20 triumph over the Green Bay Packers (5-3). Now, they are tasked with defeating the Detroit Lions (5-3), something they failed to do on the road in Week 3.
The only sportsbook to post a line on this game as of Wednesday is betonline. They have the Lions at -2.5. Weather forecasts for this important game are predicting 44 degrees Fahrenheit on a mostly sunny day that has only a 10% chance of rain. Kickoff is set for 1 PM EST at Soldier Field and the action will be televised on FOX.
Bears QB Jay Cutler is questionable for this game. He didn't fare well in Week 3 against the Lions, producing a 27/47 performance for two touchdowns and three interceptions. He was sacked three times. He figures to sit as McCown was strong against Green Bay, coming up with a 22/41 effort for two touchdowns and zero interceptions. McCown was in tune with WRs Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery meaning the passing game shouldn't reel too much in Cutler's absence.
The Lions are thin up front as T Corey Hilliard (knee) is questionable for Sunday. Before the Cowboys game last week they had just two healthy T's on the roster; LaAdrian Waddle and Barry Richardson. This didn't seem to slow the Lions down; Matthew Stafford wasn't sacked a single time and the offense dropped 31 points. However, that was against a weak Dallas defense and any further losses up front could open the flood gates for Chicago's defense. Lions CB Bill Bentley, who has 23 tackles this season, is also questionable.
The Lions are 4-4 ATS this year compared to a 2-5-1 ATS record for the Bears. Detroit owns a 5-3 O/U record and Chicago is 6-2 in that same category. Chicago is averaging 30 PPG and is giving up 28.3 PPG. The Lions are good for 27.1 PPG and are allowing 24.6 PPG at this point in the season.
Chicago utilizes a balanced attack, but they definitely like to establish the run. They are picking up 120.1 YPG on the ground. One of the most important matchups will be Bears RB Matt Forte and company against the Detroit run defense which allows 108.5 YPG. If Forte is able to get in his zone that would obviously be bad news for the Lions as it takes pressure off backup QB McCown.
Chicago's defense played well against the Green Bay offense last week, but did so with Aaron Rodgers on the bench. The Bears defense is tough to trust against a team like the Lions who have the best 1-2 QB-WR punch in many years thanks to Stafford and Calvin Johnson. Megatron enters this game on the heels of a 14 REC, 329 YDS, 1 TD showing against the Cowboys. Before that, he got 155 yds and 2 TDs against the Cincinnati Bengals. He is in luck this week as the Bears rank just 23rd in the NFL against the pass, allowing 253.6 YPG. The way things have been going for Johnson, it is not outside the realm of possibility to think he could take up the majority of those yards on his own.
Both teams in off big wins but the Lions have had a week off while the Bears are on a short week of preparation. That has us backing off a side here, although we'd lean towards the Bears if for no other reason than they are at home. Instead, we'll go over the posted total of 50 here. These two teams have been giving up almost as many points as they have been scoring this year, and that's been alot. The Lions rank 6th in points scored while Bears rank 2nd. These two combined for 72 points the first time around so why not one more time. Bears-Lions Over 50
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