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Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears Prediction: NFC North Rivals Clash in the Windy City

Lions riding high after last week's win over the Packers while Bears looking to build on recent offensive success.

Two NFC North rivals are set to meet Sunday when the Chicago Bears host the Detroit Lions. Although neither is in playoff contention, neither of these teams wants to be relegated to the basement of the division either.

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The Bears (3-6) may be coming off a tough three-point loss to Miami (their second straight defeat), but it was actually one of their better performances of the year. As for the Lions (2-6), they did something last week that the Bears haven't been able to do since 2018: beat the Green Bay Packers. That win ended a five-game losing streak while increasing the Packers' disappointing losing streak to five.

So now the Lions look to start their first winning streak of the season, while the Bears look to take the momentum from last week's much-talked-about performance to get their first victory in three weeks. Expect a fight between these two teams on Sunday.

Detroit (2-6) at Chicago (3-6)

Kickoff: Sunday, Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. ET
TV: FOX
Live Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Spread: Bears -3
Tickets: As low as $107 on SITickets.com

Three Things to Watch

1. The Bears may have finally found their offensive identity
Against Miami last week, Bears quarterback Justin Fields finally had the breakout game that many had been expecting from him since Chicago traded up to draft him 11th overall last season. He broke Michael Vick's single-game rushing record by a QB (178 yds.) and also became the first signal-caller to throw at least three touchdown passes while also running for over 140 yards (also ran for a score). His efforts earned him the first of what Bears fans hope will be many NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. If not for a missed pass interference call in the fourth quarter, Fields was primed to lead the Bears to a game-winning drive.

Fields also threw for 123 yards, with wide receiver Darnell Mooney and tight end Cole Kmet combining for 84 yards and all three of Fields' touchdown throws. That production was also long-awaited. But all of this happened for two reasons: offensive coordinator Luke Getsy adjusted his play calling to better suit Fields' skill set and the Chase Claypool trade had an impact. Although Claypool only caught two of the six passes thrown his way, the Dolphins focused part of their game plan on him, creating more opportunities for his new teammates.

What approach the Bears employ moving forward remains to be seen. Chicago has been one of the most run-happy teams in the league — a league-high 36.1 carries for 194.8 yards per game — but Fields can't do it by himself every game. Running backs David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert combined for just 59 yards on 21 carries, so the Bears will need better production from them moving forward.

2. The Lions' offense has held its own
Despite their record, the Lions have done a decent job of moving the ball. The Lions rank seventh in total offense (377.3 ypg), eighth in passing offense (243.1 ypg), ninth in rushing offense (134.1 ypg), and 11th in scoring offense (23.5 ppg). Quarterback Jared Goff is ninth in the league in passing yards per game (255.1), 13th in completions (173), 10th in yards per attempt (7.4), tied for seventh in touchdown passes (14), and 11th in passer rating (91.8). 

While he's been able to get the ball out quickly and get this team downfield, turnovers have severely hampered the Lions' offensive efforts. They've given the ball away 12 times (fourth most in the league), seven of which were Goff interceptions. Losing one of his top downfield weapons won't help, as they traded tight end T.J. Hockenson to Minnesota two weeks ago. He was the team's second-leading receiver (26 rec., 395 yds., 3 TDs) before the trade.

However, Goff still has his trio of wide receivers in Amon-Ra St. Brown (39 rec., 399 yds., 3 TDs), Josh Reynolds (26, 395, 3), and Kalif Raymond (20, 255), although Reynolds hasn't practiced this week because of a back injury. But just like the Bears, the Lions also employ a three-man attack with the ground game. Running backs D'Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams, and Justin Jackson have combined for 838 rushing yards and four scores. They initially had a four-man rotation in the backfield, but Craig Reynolds (102 yds.) was placed on IR this week with a rib injury.

Against Green Bay last week, Goff threw for 137 yards and two scores. He didn't need to do much, thanks to the success his defensive teammates had. They also ran for 117 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per play. The key to success for Detroit on Sunday will be to protect the football, keep Goff upright (Detroit has allowed just 13 sacks, fourth-fewest), and take advantage of the Bears' inconsistencies on defense. 

3. What to expect from both defenses
One of the reasons so much attention is being paid to the teams' offenses is because of what has happened on the other side of the ball. Both Chicago and Detroit rank in the league's bottom half when it comes to total defense, with the Bears sitting 18th (347.9 ypg), while the Lions are dead last (417.3 ypg). Both teams have struggled to stop the run, to put it mildly, with only the lowly Houston Texans (1-6-1) giving up more rushing yards per game than Chicago (142.7) or Detroit (148.8). They also have combined to surrender a total of 28 rushing touchdowns alone.

So points shouldn't be a problem for either offense with the Bears giving up 24 per game (18th) and the Lions coming in last in this category at 29.3 per contest. Despite the bloated statistics, there are defenders on both teams worth the price of admission. Detroit's Aidan Hutchinson, this year's No. 2 overall pick, is starting to establish himself as a playmaker. He's recorded 4.5 sacks thus far and had an impressive goal-line interception of Aaron Rodgers last week in which he recognized what the future Hall of Famer was trying to do right away on fourth-and-goal at the end of the first quarter to keep the game scoreless. Safety Kerby Joseph, the team's third-round pick, also picked off Rodgers twice in the Lions' big win. He later suffered a concussion in that game but is expected to clear protocol in time to play on Sunday.

For Chicago, while the defense certainly isn't as fearsome with Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith traded away, safety Eddie Jackson has put together a solid season with four interceptions while linebacker Nicholas Morrow and defensive lineman Justin Jones have been key pieces in their first season in a Bears uniform. Rookie defensive backs Jaquan Brisker and Kyler Gordon also have made their presence felt at times and have contributed to a defense that ranks 10th in the league in passing yards per game (200.7) and has nearly as many interceptions (nine) as touchdown passes allowed (10). 

Both defenses have their work cut out for them on Sunday but don't expect either unit to just roll over. Limiting big plays, getting pressure on the quarterback, and creating turnovers will be things to keep an eye on.

Final Analysis

Chicago has had the upper hand in its longtime rivalry with Detroit recently, winning seven of the last eight meetings. Even though just one game in the win column is what separates these two teams, it feels like the Bears have more momentum. As long as Fields and the offense don't take a big step backward, the home team should find a way to come out victorious on Sunday.

Prediction: Bears 24, Lions 20

— Written by Gabe Salgado, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He can also be heard on WGN Radio. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.

*Price as of publication.