Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions – Week 17 Game Preview: Overview, Keys to Game, Insights
The Bears (3-12) continued their push for better draft position with their eighth consecutive loss to the Buffalo Bills Saturday. Next up in the tank-a-thon is a match up with the division-rival Lions on New Year’s Day.
Detroit (7-8) has won four of six since a one-point win over the Bears at Soldier Field in November and are still alive in the playoff race. Chicago blew a 14-point lead in that game and would eventually lose thanks to a missed extra point by Cairo Santos.
Jared Goff has been very good leading a Lions offense that produces 375.5 yards and 26.1 points per game, both figures are in the top five of the NFL rankings. Goff has thrown for 3959 yards and 26 touchdowns with only 7 interceptions. Amon-Ra St. Brown is his top target with over 1000 yards receiving and 6 TD’s.
Detroit’s defense is a completely different story, however, they allow 409.9 yards per game, dead last in the NFL. In their last game against the Carolina Panthers they surrendered over 300 yards rushing. With a point differential of -9 most of their games come down to the wire.
This is a game the Lions have to win and in a sense it is a game the Bears perhaps don’t need to lose but probably should drop to “earn” one of the top two picks in the draft. It would seem that the outcome is almost predetermined, yet, sometimes what feels like a sure thing doesn’t turn out that way. Everyone will have to wait until Sunday to see if the result comes out as expected.
Where to Watch/Listen
- Sunday, January 1 at 12:00pm CT on FOX, WBBM Radio (English), and WRTO Radio (Spanish)
Keys to Victory
Here are my keys to Sunday’s game. If these things happen, the Bears should have a shot to win.
- Run the ball early and often. Detroit has a terrible run defense and Justin Fields, David Montgomery, and the rest of the Bears ground attack needs to have a big day.
- Try to get some kind of pass rush to Jared Goff. If the Lions quarterback has time to throw he can be as good as anyone in the NFL. Under pressure he will commit turnovers and can struggle mightily. The question is: can Chicago do anything to create pressure with an almost non-existent pass rush?
- Will the Bears actually try to win??? The fact Justin Fields is playing means Chicago will have at least a puncher’s chance to win. The incentive to lose is very strong, however, so keep an eye out for head coach Matt Eberflus to perhaps subtly move his team towards a defeat with his game management.
Don’t Tell Me the Odds
The Lions are a six-point favorite at home against the Bears. The oddsmakers are expecting a high-scoring game with an over/under set at 52.
It’s Football Weather
Ford Field is a domed stadium with a climate controlled temperature of about 72 degrees, so weather will not be a factor.
The Bears will be able to move the ball on Detroit and will put up some points. The problem is going to be Chicago’s defense, which has not been good during this losing streak The Lions will outscore the Bears in a shootout 42-31 and keep their playoff hopes alive.
Official Bears Preview
Here are Bears analysts Jeff Joniak and Tom Thayer with their preview of the Bears’ upcoming Week 17 matchup.