Still in search of their first victory of 2015, the Detroit Lions face off against arguably their biggest rivals, the Chicago Bears. Expectations for the Bears were extremely low going into the season, but two consecutive wins have the Bears singing a different tune. Let's take a deeper look at this Chicago team to see if they are for real.
Chicago Bears (2-3)
Schedule so far:
Week 1 - vs. Packers - lost, 23-31
Week 2 - vs. Cardinals - lost, 23-48
Week 3 - at Seahawks - lost, 0-26
Week 4 - vs. Raiders - won, 22-20
Week 5 at Chiefs - won, 18-17
Reason for optimism:
Though the Bears are currently riding a two-game winning streak, they still aren't very good. It took two improbable comebacks to pull out both victories. By Football Outsiders' DVOA statistic, the Bears have the 25th ranked offense and the 28th ranked defense. Though their three losses came against pretty good competition, their two wins came against poor opponents. The Bears are still one of the worst teams in the league.
Most importantly, Chicago one of the worst defenses in the league. Detroit has already faced defenses that rank first (Broncos), third (Cardinals), 12th (Seahawks), 20th (Vikings) and 22nd (Chargers). The Bears will be the worst defense the Lions have faced so far, and should be the perfect opportunity for the Lions' offense to finally break out.
Reason for pessimism:
Though the Bears rank poorly as a team, they are beginning to turn things around. In their two wins, they've held both opponents to 20 points or under. And while Jay Cutler has been unspectacular, he's been somewhat reliable and clearly a much better option than backup Jimmy Clausen, who wasn't able to produce a single point as the team's starter in Week 3.
Additionally, Alshon Jeffery returned to practice on Wednesday, improving his chances to play on Sunday.
Storyline to watch:
The last game between these two teams got ugly. Dominic Raiola was eventually suspended for stepping on Ego Ferguson's leg, and Ezekiel Ansah was penalized for a vicious-looking hit on Clausen. For two teams that are unlikely to contend for a playoff spot, this is about as heated of a matchup as either can expect for the remainder of the season. Expect a high-intensity game at Ford Field on Sunday.