Six Points: Bears vs. Lions
The Chicago Bears (2-3) will visit Ford Field in Week 6 and try to keep their winning streak alive against the Detroit Lions (0-5), who are just looking for a win. This NFC North battle should be a heated one, as neither of these teams want to be the bottom-feeders in the division. Will Jay Cutler keep Chicago rolling, or will Matthew Stafford deliver Detroit it’s first victory of the season?
Here are three keys to the game for both the Bears and the Lions.
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1. Don’t let Matthew Stafford get comfortable
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was benched during last week’s 42-17 loss to the Cardinals. The struggling passer threw three interceptions (eight on the season), as everything seemed to fall apart around him. Stafford will be out to redeem himself against the Bears; linebacker Pernell McPhee (3 sacks in 2015) and the rest of Chicago’s pass-rushers must do their best to disrupt him.
2. Keep building Jay Cutler’s confidence
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is coming off back-to-back fourth-quarter comebacks, as his return from a hamstring injury has turned the previously winless Bears into the victors of two straight. The stats don’t really show it, but Cutler is playing with a little magic this season. Head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase have to keep their quarterback’s confidence on high.
3. Find a way to score more points
The Bears are not producing enough points to win with consistency. They’re averaging 17.2 points per game, which ranks 28th in the league. If the offense isn’t going to get the job done, Chicago will need to score on defense and special teams. These Bears will have to become more opportunistic; they have only four takeaways on the season (tied-25th in NFL).
1. Capture momentum early
The Bears are riding a two-game winning streak into Ford Field on Sunday, while the Lions are losers of five straight. Detroit must do anything it can in order to flip the script in the first half. Whether it’s a momentous turnover or an unexpected scoring strike, the Lions need to be reminded of what it’s like to hold a lead. They haven’t had one since the early goings of Week 1.
2. Try to establish a running game
The Lions have been the NFL’s most pathetic team on the ground in 2015. They average dead-last rates of 2.8 yards per carry and 49.0 rushing yards per game. The Bears, who already allow an average of 4.4 yards per carry (25th in NFL), will be down a key run defender in linebacker Shea McClellin on Sunday. The Lions should take advantage of this matchup and try to get the ground game going.
3. Take away Jay Cutler’s favorite targets
Alshon Jeffery’s injuries have left the Bears without a game-changing receiver on the outside. Chicago’s most notable pass-catchers are tight end Martellus Bennett (28 receptions, leads team) and running back Matt Forte (18, tied for second). They serve as a security blanket for Cutler; take them away and he’s bound to struggle.