At a glance, the Detroit Lions appear to have righted the ship with last week’s tough 24-21 road win over the Buccaneers. It bought Matthew Stafford another week to heal a bizarre throwing-hand injury, and a 3-0 finish would put the team in the thick of the Wild Card race. The rest of the schedule looks manageable – Chicago, Cincinnati, and Green Bay.
But watch out. Aaron Rodgers is on the verge of returning to the Packers, and the 4-9 Bears let everyone know they’re still a competitive football team with last week’s 33-7 win over the Bengals.
In fact, the Lions are favored by less than a TD + XP for a home game against the last-place team in their division. That’s either a slap in the face or cold hard reality, depending on what you’ve heard about the Detroit running game.
Who: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
When: Saturday, December 16th, 4:30 PM EST
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Lines: Chicago (+6) at Detroit (-6) / O/U Total: (44)
Everything went right for the Bears last Sunday. Mitch Trubisky had his best passing day as a pro, throwing only 7 incompletions on 32 attempts. Jordan Howard dominated on the ground and scored twice. WR Kendall Wright looked alive for a change, and the defense punished Andy Dalton and the Cincy running backs.
But the Bengals have a knack for totally collapsing on their home field when it matters most. It is improbable that John Fox’s team would simply waltz into any opposing stadium and look like an offensive juggernaut. Chicago’s defense may be underrated, but 1st downs and touchdowns will continue to be a grind.
Detroit has suffered 3 sloppy offensive games in a row, which the team cannot afford if the playoffs are to happen. Stafford was terrific, however, playing through pain last week. The QB had only a modest game when the 2 teams last met (a 27-24 Lions win) because the RBs couldn’t get going. That’s been a recurrent theme.
But a line of (-6) still seems tiny, and overly-influenced by Cincinnati’s collapse as opposed to any real surge by the Bears, who are out of contention while the Lions are not.
We think Chicago will play well and hang close to the Lions…just not for 4 quarters. Stafford and the Detroit offense are due for a big day and home field should help the hosts pull away late.
Take the Detroit Lions to cover (-6) points.