If the Chicago Bears can sweep the season series from the Detroit Lions, they could draw their all-time record against Matthew Stafford to 8-8. The road to .500 (against Stafford-led Lions teams) starts at Soldier Field.
- The Bears’ secondary has been superb in recent weeks, save for Week 10 against Brett Hundley and the Green Bay Packers. (Wow, that was difficult to type and is still difficult to comprehend). One reason pushing the resurgent defensive backfield is the emergence of Adrian Amos, who Doug Farrar of Bleacher Report believes is the Bears’ most improved player. Even though he played just one snap in the first two games of the season, Amos has enjoyed a breakout campaign since replacing an injured Quintin Demps in the starting lineup. Amos has transformed his game by improving in pass coverage while maintaining a high level of tackling ability. Those skills need to be on display Sunday if the Bears are going to win.
- Tim Twentyman of the Lions’ official website highlights five things to watch for in Sunday’s game, including battles on each side of the offensive line. Detroit will have its starting five offensive linemen healthy and together for the first time in 2017, just in time to face a Chicago front seven that’s a bit dinged up right now. The Bears will need to penetrate the Lions’ line if they seek to make it tough on Stafford, who has thrown for the fifth-most yards (2,461) and owns the league’s 10th best passer rating (96.3).
- On the other side of the line, Detroit will look to bounce back from a lousy effort as a run defense. The Cleveland Browns ran for 201 yards against the Lions in Week 10, which was the third time Detroit has allowed at least 150 rushing yards. Still, the Lions’ run defense ranks 10th and the Bears have ran into a bit of trouble recently when trying to establish the run. Ideally, Jordan Howard can re-capture the magic of 2016 when he ran for 197 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry in two games against Detroit.
- The Lions will get their first look at Mitch Trubisky on Sunday, and Larry Mayer of the Bears’ official website will have his eye on the rookie quarterback as he tries to take that next step in his development. Two of the four things Mayer says to watch center around the Bears’ offense. Obviously, Trubisky’s development takes precedence – and not just this week, but for the rest of the year. But it will be interesting to see whether or not rookie running back Tarik Cohen is more of a factor on offense. He played just 13 offensive snaps in Week 10 and was given just two touches. Trubisky wants to see Cohen in the lineup more, so perhaps Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains will shoehorn him into the lineup.
- Detroit would rather not see Trubisky thrive in his first start against the Lions like Howard did as a rookie in 2016. Howard ran for 111 yards in his first appearance against Detroit in an upset win at Soldier Field. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press believes stopping Howard would be a major key to coming up with a winning effort against the Bears. The Bears are 5-5 when Howard runs for at least 100 yards … and 1-13 when he doesn’t.
- Connor Williams, one of college football’s best offensive tackle prospects, returned to the starting lineup on Saturday for the University of Texas. Williams has been a player we’ve been keeping our eye on since the summer and was even recently mocked in a 2018 NFL Draft to be chosen by Chicago. Williams missed some time with a knee injury, which is always a concern for linemen, but he looked fine by all accounts. “I’m glad to see Connor doing what he did,” running back Chris Warren III told the Austin American-Statesman. “He was dominating out there, he was doing what he does. He hasn’t lost a step.”
- According to Pro Football Focus, Williams played 31 pass block snaps and didn’t allow a single quarterback pressure. I’d say that’s a sign that the game’s top tackle prospect is looking just fine.
- *Man pointing at brain because he’s smart dot gif* goes here:
Michigan is now 1-6 against AP Top-10 teams under Jim Harbaugh
— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) November 18, 2017
We don’t have any AP-ranked teams in the NFC North, coach. Just saying… https://t.co/CubvsuxlRF
— The Ten-Yard Line (@TheTenYardLine) November 18, 2017
- There was a really awesome fake-out in Saturday’s UCLA-USC game, which looked kinda familiar:
- In case you’re curious, I’m still mad about the phantom penalty that was called and ultimately cost the Bears a touchdown. No big deal.
- You can gear up for the stretch run at Fanatics, which has 25 percent off all orders with no minimum today. Neato. I think I’m going to find a new winter hat before Chicago turns into freezing mess this winter:
— The Ten-Yard Line (@TheTenYardLine) November 19, 2017