The Detroit Lions are in first place in the NFC North with two games to go. The Lions currently hold the tie-breaker of the Green Bay Packers and with a Eagles loss combined with a loss by the Packers can take home the NFC North title. This is a must win game for the Lions if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive. They hold the tie-breaker over Dallas and Philadelphia in conference play. The Eagles cannot have a better conference record than the Lions, with 5 conference losses to the Lions 2. The Lions finish up the season in Green Bay where they rarely ever win, and so this winnable game in Chicago is an absolute must win. If the Packers beat Tampa Bay as they are expected to do, the NFC North title will be decided on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. Matthew Stafford’s TID is starting to creep up as it moves up to 1.7. Golden Tate averages nearly 7 yards after the catch and 13.4 yards per reception total. Calvin Johnson is still a big threat averaging 15.4 yards a reception. The Lions have the 30th ranked rushing offense in the league, but have shown that with a lead that can use it to close out the game. The Lions defense has brought their TID back down to 0. The Lions offensive line is giving up 2.8 sacks a game and the offense looks out of sync. The Lions have the number one rushing defense in the league holding their opponents to 68.3 yards a game.
The Chicago Bears aren’t playing for anything although the chance to play spoiler against their longtime division rivals should put a spark into this inept Bears team. Jay Cutler has a 1.9 TID, but he won’t be playing this Sunday against Detroit, Jimmy Clausen gets the start in his place. Bears Head Coach Marc Trestman benched Cutler on Wednesday in favor of the 5th year player from Notre Dame. Clausen in 3 games this season has completed 33.3% of his passes for 42 yards no touchdowns and no interceptions. Clausen has not started since 2010 when he was with the Carolina Panthers. The Bears will also be without wide receiver Brandon Marshall limiting the weapons Clausen will be working with on Sunday. The Bears need to get Matt Forte more involved in the running game then on Thanksgiving when Forte had 5 rushes for 6 yards that is 0.83 yards per carry. The team as a whole had 8 carries for 13 yards for a 1.6 yards a carry for the game. If the Bears are going to have any chance in this game they will really need to commit to the running game. If the Bears don’t commit to the run game Jimmy Clausen is going to get buried.
The key to this game is the Lions front seven versus the Bears offensive line. The last time the Lions faced a backup quarterback on the road specifically the Arizona Cardinals they lost. The Bears fortunately don’t have the Cardinals defense and the Lions should be in the Bears offensive backfield all day. The Bears are 9 point underdogs at home, the Bears are 2-5 at home this season, take the Lions giving 9 at Soldier Field.
Final Score: Detroit Lions 31 Chicago Bears 13