It’s Revenge Week across the SB Nation NFL blogs. This week you’ll see a bunch of coverage regarding potential revenge games in 2019 or other revenge-related content. But to kick things off, we have to talk about the Chicago Bears.
For years, we joked about the “Owning the Bears.” From 2013 to 2017, the Lions won nine out of 10 contests between the two teams, and we let Chicago know it every opportunity that we got. Not only did we popularize the hashtag #WeOwnTheBears, we put it on a sign that made its way to the 2016 NFL Draft in Chicago—and then took it to a wrestling event too for good measure.
Needless to say, 2018 wasn’t quite as fun. Not only did the Bears sweep the Lions, but they did so in fairly convincing fashion... and with a backup quarterback at Ford Field. Understandably, Chicago came back at us with a fury of pent-up frustrations:
I’m only going to do this twice.#WeOwnTheLions— Windy City Gridiron (@WCGridiron) November 22, 2018
But we were told historical match-ups don't matter?— Windy City Gridiron (@WCGridiron) January 28, 2019
Oh, I get it, now that #WeOwnTheLions again, like we've done for the better part of 80 years, Detroit fans want to talk about the past. So congrats on those 5 years, but since we can talk history again... 99-74-5 little bro. https://t.co/tuA8k11f3L
Each side has taken their lumps, and we surely deserve everything that came our way last season.
But enough is enough.
It’s time for the Detroit Lions to own the Chicago Bears again.
Last year, the Lions weren’t a good team. Their roster was lacking the type of players Matt Patricia really wanted, Matthew Stafford had a down year, and Detroit traded away one of their best assets before Thanksgiving.
The Bears were going through a similar change, sporting their own first-time head coach, but they seemed to expedite the rebuilding process. A blockbuster trade for Khalil Mack combined with keeping a respected defensive coordinator and the installment of a promising, innovative offense led to an NFC North title, a 12-4 season and
a playoff win... kicker double dong.
Despite no postseason success, Chicago Bears fans remain confident for 2019... and I mean really confident:
The #Lions are actually 2nd in the NFC North in confidence.— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) May 8, 2019
Only behind the Bears, who should not be able to operate heavy machinery with all the Kool Aid they've consumed. pic.twitter.com/Zqx10UQITd
Of course, they have plenty of reason to be. The dominant defense from last year returns relatively intact. The offense will have another year under its belt and Mitchell Trubisky benefits from another season of valuable experience.
That being said, there are certainly warning signs that the Bears are due for some regression. Despite some respectable statistics, by other measures Trubisky was one of the worst quarterbacks of 2018. Additionally, the Bears were one of the least-injured teams of 2018, ranking third in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Games Lost. Finally, turnover margin—which has proven to be fairly inconsistent from year to year—was heavily in Chicago’s favor last season (+12, third). In other words, the Bears were a pretty lucky football team in 2018.
As for the Lions, there’s little denying this team is in a better place than it was last year. Their defensive roster added at least three starters this offseason (Trey Flowers, Justin Coleman, Rashaan Melvin). The offense has a coordinator and personnel (see: tight ends) that actually aligns with the philosophy the head coach is trying to preach, which will help Detroit accomplish their offensive goals. Finally, head coach Matt Patricia has a year of valuable experience under his belt.
As of right now, the Bears are favored in both matchups against the Lions in 2019, and for good reason: It’s a team coming off a 12-4 season vs. a team that finished 6-10. But this rivalry should be much more evenly matched this year, which means it’s time to Own the Bears once again.