After a 1-6 start to the season, the Detroit Lions started their comeback story with victories over the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears in Weeks 9 and 10, respectively. Unfortunately, after an ugly Lions loss in Carolina, there is little room for error left in Detroit’s quest for the postseason.
With just two games remaining in the 2022 season, the Lions will once again face off against the two teams that helped jump-start the Lions’ improbable run toward the NFL playoffs. The Packers will be waiting for the Lions in the season finale, but in order for that game to have meaningful playoff implications, Detroit will need to take care of business in Week 17, when they host Chicago.
As the opening odds for the week roll in, the Lions are the early favorite, and the good folks over at DraftKings Sportsbook have set the opening betting line as Lions -5.5 points.
The Bears have lost their last eight games in a row, but with quarterback Justin Fields under center, Chicago will always have a chance to compete in games. Against the Bills last week, they led after 35 minutes, but after Buffalo got the lead and separated, Chicago moved away from their running game and could not recover.
When the Bears get their rushing attack going they have kept games close. In their last seven games—including the game against the Lions—they have run for over 125 yards as a team in all but one (80 vs. Bills), and over half of them have been just one-score losses.
For the Lions, they have only allowed a team to rush for over 100 yards in two of their last six games, but unfortunately, both of those games were losses—the Bills ran for 164 yards on Thanksgiving, while the Panthers gashed them for 320 yards on the ground last Saturday. Although, it is worth pointing out that the last time the Lions allowed a team to rush for over 100 yards, and still won the game, was in Week 10 against the Bears.
At the end of the day, after a month and a half of looking like a revived unit, the Lions' run defense is coming off their most horrific performance of the season. If they want to keep hopes of a playoff run dancing through fans’ dreams, they’ll need to correct their run defense, rapidly.