Haugh: Bears-Lions Preview

Two inconsistent teams meet at Soldier Field on Sunday.

David Haugh
November 08, 2019 - 10:41 am
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(670 The Score) The Bears (3-5) host the Lions (3-4-1) on Sunday afternoon. Kickoff comes at noon, and the game can be heard on WBBM Newsradio 780.

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Here's a breakdown.

Bears 100:

If Mitchell Trubisky thinks it has become loud around Chicago, just wait. If the Bears fall to the Lions and extend their losing streak to five, the noise will be too much to bear for the quarterback who's too affected by external influences. Sunday should quiet things down for Trubisky. The Bears are the superior team with a better roster and are playing at home. To prove their superiority, the Bears must establish the run, move the pocket for Trubisky and play mistake-free football offensively. Defensively, they must rise to the challenge of playing against the NFL’s leading passer in Matthew Stafford. Stafford has talent and weapons but, as the football adage goes, no quarterback can complete passes from his back. Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano must relentlessly attack via the blitz and show the urgency felt – and heard – all week at Halas Hall.

Most intriguing matchup: Lions receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. vs. Bears cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller

The Lions’ tandem is tied for first in the NFL in combined touchdowns with 13 – Golladay has seven and Jones has six. They’re explosive and have developed good chemistry with Stafford. Amukamara and Fuller have played well – and will have to against this dangerous duo and the hottest quarterback the Bears have played this season.

Most intriguing matchup II: Lions defensive tackles Damon Harrison and A’Shawn Robinson vs. Bears interior offensive line

With left guard Cody Whitehair and center James Daniels possibly switching spots, the shakeup could leave the Bears vulnerable up front. Right guard Rashaad Coward isn’t exactly established either, and the line’s struggles against the Eagles in the first half hurt the offense as badly as poor quarterback play. The Lions arrive struggling defensively, but Harrison and Robinson can disrupt the Bears running game if the new-look line meshes slowly.

Most intriguing matchup III: Bears receiver Allen Robinson vs. Lions cornerback Darius Slay

Slay met with Lions coach Matt Patricia this week after making disparaging comments about his defense, which needs him to help shut down Robinson to have any chance. Far and away the Bears’ most targeted receiver, Robinson gives Mitch Trubisky his best chance to build confidence.

Quoting:

"Trying to get some of these TVs in the building turned off because you've got too many people talking on TV about us and what they think about us, what we should do, what we are and what we're not."

-- Trubisky

Quoting II:

"This guy, he’s a good player. He’s athletic, he’s strong, he can get out of trouble, he can extend plays, he can scramble, he can run, he can throw. He’s got deep balls, he’s got great skill guys, so that’s the major issue that we have to deal with. He’s a great player, and we got to start there."

-- Patricia on Trubisky

Quoting III:

"Most of it was my fault. I put the guys in bad spots."

-- Pagano taking blame for the Eagles’ final 16-play scoring drive that included four third-down conversions

Stat of the week:

The Bears offense is ranked 29th. The Lions defense is ranked 31st. Something’s has to give.

Stat of the week II:

The Bears have scored seven points in eight opening drives – a touchdown against the Vikings on Sept. 29, which was their last win. Starting fast against a bad Lions defense would go a long way toward the Bears beating a team they should.

Stat of the week III:

Stafford is 10-8 lifetime against the Bears. Only Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers have completed more passes against the Bears in their careers than Stafford, who has 434. Stafford leads the league with 312.4 passing yards per game and in completions of 20 or more yards with 41.

The difference:

A game between two inconsistent teams often comes down to who has the staunchest defense. That would be the Bears in this matchup. Khalil Mack remains the X-factor and biggest difference-maker in a game the Lions could steal if Stafford gets hot. Pagano must realize the need for more blitzes and a high-risk, high-reward approach against a quarterback playing the best football of his career. Something needs to change. The Bears are 3-5 and searching for answers. Finally, against a bad Lions team, they find them.

Prediction: Bears 23, Lions 20

David Haugh is the co-host of the Mully & Haugh Show on 670 The Score weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Listen to the show here. You can follow him on Twitter @DavidHaugh and email him at david.haugh@entercom.com.