The Chicago Bears (2-3) roll into Detroit Sunday on the high of a two-game win streak that has included two late comeback victories against the Chiefs and Raiders. Meanwhile, the Lions (0-5) are reeling after a blowout loss last week to the Arizona Cardinals that has many questioning whether Jim Caldwell has already lost the team just a year and five games into his tenure as Detroit's head coach.
Can Chicago get back to the .500 mark with their first victory over the Lions in three seasons?
Chicago at Detroit
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET (Sunday)
TV Channel: FOX
Spread: Lions -2.5
Three Things to Watch
1. Fans' response to Tate comments
Following the Lions 42-17 loss last week to the Arizona Cardinals, wide receiver Golden Tate made his thoughts known about the fans' response to the team’s poor performance. "You know, I'm the first one to say I love our fans," Tate told the Detroit Free Press. "I think our fans are amazing, and they've been patient for a long time. But before the game got out of hand, before the game started, I looked up and there were a lot of empty seats. Early on, our team is getting booed.” A day later, Tate went on record again, but this time stating that his effort has not been where it needs to be this season. Both comments did not sit well within the Lions' fan base, one that has seen these types of performances all too many times in the past. How early will the booing start this week if things go south again?
2. Levy out again
Detroit star linebacker DeAndre Levy suffered a setback with his hip injury last week and it looks to be trending in the direction of him being shut down for 2015. At this point, with the season already down the drain, why risk further injury to one of the organization's most important players? One year after ranking first in the league in rush defense, the Lions now sit at 27th, giving up nearly 127 yards per game on the ground. With the league’s leading rusher coming to town in Matt Forte, the Lions face a tough task in trying to limit him without their best run defender in the lineup.
3. M*A*S*H Unit
Six starters missed last week’s matchup against the Chiefs for Chicago, including two starting wide receivers, three offensive linemen, and starting safety Antrel Rolle. Despite the reshuffled lineup, the Bears still clawed their way back from a 17-6 deficit in the fourth quarter to notch their second win of the season on the road in a hostile environment. Jay Cutler was without both Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal, and still managed to throw for 252 yards and a pair of scores, including the game-winning touchdown to Forte in the waning seconds. The offensive line that was missing three starters completely stonewalled Justin Houston and Tamba Hali throughout the contest, limiting both to a combined four tackles and zero sacks. Even with less talent on the roster this year, the Bears are winning games they easily would have found a way to lose last season.
Before the season began, every Lions fan and probably most Bears fans would have written this one down as a Lions victory. Five games in, it is a complete 180. After two straight wins, the Bears finally look like a competent football team – something that could not be said last season and even earlier on in the year. Chicago is running the football with success, playing sound defense and not turning the ball over in critical moments. The same could not be said about Detroit right now and the Lions have provided little evidence that things will turn around for the better anytime soon. The game will remain close throughout, but look for the Bears to come up with a late field goal to get their first win against Detroit in three years.
Prediction: Bears 20, Lions 17
— Written by Mike Bainbridge, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Bainbridge is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and current writer for CollegeFootballGeek.com. Make sure to follow him on Twitter @MikeBainbridge2.