3 keys for Bears to beat Lionsfinal score prediction originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
For the first time in a long time, the Bears are favored to win a football game. Even though the lowly Lions are coming to town, it doesn’t mean the Bears are going to run away with an easy victory, like their surprise upset against the Patriots. The Lions feature one of the best offensive lines in the game that has both opened up big holes for their running backs, and protected Jared Goff well. For Detroit, that matches up well against the Bears’ sub par run defense and pass rush. However, if the Bears can execute on these three keys they should come away with their fourth win of the year.
STOP D’ANDRE SWIFT / JAMAAL WILLIAMS
The Bears by far and away have the best rushing attack in the NFL this season, but the Lions aren’t far behind. They gain 5 yards/carry, which is tied for the seventh-best rate in the league and feature two dynamic backs in Swift and Williams. Swift hasn’t carried the ball much as he’s battled ankle and shoulder injuries, but when he’s gotten the ball, he’s been a home run hitter. According to PFF, Swift has had a breakaway run of 15+ yards on 11.8% of his attempts. By comparison, Khalil Herbert has a 6.1% breakaway rate, and David Montgomery’s breakaway rate is 0.9%. When the Lions need a score, they turn to Jamaal Williams and he’s delivered. Williams is third in the NFL with eight touchdowns, behind only Nick Chubb and Derrick Henry, and Williams has done it on 23 fewer carries than Chubb, and 57 fewer carries than Henry. The success starts in the trenches for the Lions, as they boast one of the best run blocking offensive lines in the NFL. To mitigate the Lions success, the Bears will need to play with excellent gap integrity and get off of blocks to make plays.
HIT ON THE EXPLOSIVE PASS PLAYS
For as good as the Lions have been running the ball, they’ve struggled to defend the pass. Detroit has allowed 7.8 yards/attempt, which is the highest rate in the league. Cornerbacks Mike Huges and Jeffrey Okudah allow completion percentages of 73.1% and 73.7% respectively, which are the 26th and 27th highest rates among CBs with at least 100 coverage snaps. The Lions haven’t helped themselves by taking the ball away, or setting teams back with sacks either. The Lions have only five interceptions, tied for ninth-fewest, and 12 sacks, which is second-fewest. The Bears offense has taken a big step forward by using Justin Fields as a runner more often. This could be their opportunity to unleash him as a passer.
The Lions deserve credit for beating the Packers last week, but the Packers helped by beating themselves in critical moments. Aaron Rodgers threw two interceptions in the endzone, one of which was a ball batted at the line of scrimmage and the other was a lame duck on a trick play. They also committed eight penalties for 81 yards, and four of those penalties resulted in Lions first downs. The Bears have shown when they play clean football they have a good chance to win, but if they don’t it’s hard for them to overcome. If they make too many mistakes, the Lions could pounce and earn another surprise win of their own.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION
The Bears offense is humming and should continue against the Lions defense. The Lions offense has been good at times, but has sputtered lately and may not be able to keep up.
Bears: 24, Lions: 20