The Detroit Lions are trying to get the train back on the tracks after dropping two straight. The timing of the schedule couldn’t be better, as the 0-3 Chicago Bears are next on the docket. During the offseason, there was a lot of hype that the Bears had made a huge turn from last season and could surprise some people in 2016. But through three weeks, injuries and poor play have analysts believing they could be the worst team in football. Let’s take a closer look at the Bears.
Chicago Bears (0-3)
Schedule so far:
Week 1 - at Texans - Lost, 14-23
Week 2 - vs. Eagles - Lost, 14-29
Week 3 - at Cowboys - Lost, 17-31
Reasons Lions should be optimistic:
With the loss of Jay Cutler, Jeremy Langford and Hroniss Grasu, the Bears offense has looked impotent. Their 15.0 points per game is the third-lowest in the league. For a Lions defense that hasn’t been able to stop anyone, this is a great matchup.
Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer has looked acceptable in his five quarters of play since Cutler’s injury, but at 6.5 yards per attempt, he isn’t exactly leading an explosive offense.
Defensively, things may be just as bad for Chicago. They’ve already lost starters Kyle Fuller and Lamarr Houston to the injured reserve list. Meanwhile, key players like Danny Trevathan and Eddie Goldman are trying to make their way back from shorter-term injuries.
The result has been a defense that ranks 23rd in points allowed, 30th in rushing yards allowed and 23rd in passer rating allowed. The hot Lions offense should feed on Sunday.
Reasons Lions should be pessimistic:
First and foremost, Lions should be game planning for tight end Zach Miller. Over the past two weeks we’ve chronicled the Lions’ struggles in defending the pass over the middle of the field, and Miller is coming off of his best game of the season. Against the Cowboys, Miller had eight catches for 78 yards and two touchdowns. Miller has the fifth-most receptions of all tight ends through three weeks and has the most touchdowns. He clearly has developed some chemistry with Hoyer, so assuming Cutler is out again this week, expect Miller to see plenty of targets.
Defensively, it’s hard to see anything that truly presents a bad matchup for Detroit. Jerrell Freeman has probably been the Bears best defensive player, leading the team in both tackles (21) and tackles for loss (four).
This is undoubtedly a favorable matchup for the Lions. While the Bears defense has made some strides since last year, injuries have really held that unit down, and it remains below average. Obviously, the Lions have concerns of their own on defense—worse than the Bears, even—but with the way Chicago’s offense is playing right now, Detroit doesn’t need to worry about Hoyer going all Aaron Rodgers on them.
I wouldn’t call the Bears the worst team in the NFL right now, but they are in a bad, bad place.