The Detroit Lions are in danger of being swept in their first round around the NFC North. With losses to the Packers* and Vikings already in the books, the Lions are hoping to avoid an 0-3 start in the division with their road trip against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
In order to get a road division win, the Lions will need these five players to have a big game on Sunday.
There aren’t a lot of ways the Bears can beat you through the air, but their best shot is to target Allen Robinson. Robinson is a very good receiver, and is having a solid year despite poor quarterback play. He also happens to be Mitchell Trubisky’s favorite target by a very large margin. Robinson has 71 targets on the year (12th in NFL), which is 43 more targets than any other wide receiver on the roster.
The plan should be for Darius Slay to shadow him the entire game, because the likes of Anthony Miller and Taylor Gabriel shouldn’t scare anyone.
Damon Harrison Sr.
The Bears will likely attempt to run the ball early and often to take the ball out of Trubisky’s hands and take advantage of a struggling Lions run defense. That means it will be on Snacks and company to recapture their mojo and force Chicago into a lot of third-and-longs to make the Bears offense uncomfortable.
Luckily for Detroit, the Bears haven’t been able to run the ball very effectively this year and their offensive line is struggling. Rookie David Montgomery is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry and speedster Tarik Cohen is averaging just 2.4.
Whether or not Matthew Stafford plays, Taylor Decker will have his hands full with Khalil Mack all day. He’ll likely have some help with wide receivers, tight ends and running backs providing chips from start to finish, but it will be on Decker to clean up after that—and that is no easy task.
Considering Stafford’s health, Decker may be the most important player on the field if the franchise quarterback plays. It’s clear from this weekend’s reports that Stafford won’t be 100 percent and it may not take much to knock him out of the game. Decker is coming off a solid game in Oakland, but he has to follow it up with a much tougher task this week.
The Bears haven’t been very good at covering tight ends over the past month. Take a look:
- Foster Moreau: 4 catches, 46 yards
- Darren Waller: 4 catches, 39 yards
- Josh Hill: 3 catches, 43 yards, 1 TD
- 4 catches, 47 yards
- Zach Ertz: 9 catches, 103 yards, 1 TD
- Dallas Goedert: 4 catches, 39 yards
Last week, especially, the Eagle found a weakness in this defense. While the cornerbacks and safeties on this Bears defense haven’t been playing up to task lately, they’re still a talented group. This linebacking corps, though, is vulnerable. So it’s time for Hockenson to take advantage.
Last week, Will Harris was the only defensive player to play every single snap. With Detroit shorthanded at safety again this week—Miles Killebrew and Tracy Walker have already been declared out—it’s likely Harris never comes off the field again this week.
Harris has had an up-and-down rookie year, which is to be expected of a third-round pick. However, Detroit needs him to be more consistent as tackler, and we still haven’t seen him use his athletic tools to cover space in zone. With a weak Bears offense this week, it’s a good opportunity to show some progress.