Chicago Bears (5-9)
Schedule so far
Week 1 - vs. Bills - lost, 23-20 (OT)
Week 2 - at 49ers - won, 28-20
Week 3 - at Jets - won, 27-19
Week 4 - vs. Packers - lost, 38-17
Week 5 - at Panthers - lost, 31-24
Week 6 - at Falcons - won, 27-13
Week 7 - vs. Dolphins - lost, 27-14
Week 8 - at Patriots - lost, 51-23
Week 10 - at Packers - lost, 55-14
Week 11 - vs. Vikings - won, 21-13
Week 12 - vs. Buccaneers - won, 21-13
Week 13 - at Lions - lost, 34-17
Week 14 - vs. Cowboys - lost, 41-28
Week 15 - vs. Saints - lost, 31-15
Reason for optimism
There are really two notable reasons for optimism. First, the Lions just beat the Bears by 17 points on Thanksgiving. The Lions got off to a slow start in that game, but they really carved up the Bears defense and won quite comfortably. Second, the Bears are still melting down. Their off-field issues now involve the offensive coordinator badmouthing Jay Cutler to the media, which just about sums up how things have gone for them this year.
Reason for pessimism
Even though the Lions won quite comfortably, the Bears kept them off balance in the first quarter of that game on Thanksgiving. Chicago actually led 14-3 at one point, and the game plan Marc Trestman devised early on was quite effective. What's more, this game will be outdoors in Chicago, so the weather could potentially play a factor and even the playing field a bit.
Storyline to watch
The only storyline worth focusing on this week for the Lions is that they can clinch a playoff spot with a win on Sunday. They could potentially even clinch the NFC North title if they get some help from the Buccaneers, but it's as simple as this for the Lions: win and you're in.
For more on the Bears, check out Windy City Gridiron.