Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions Odds & Predictions

by | Sep 8, 2020 | nfl

Chicago Bears (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Detroit Lions (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
Week 1 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 1PM EDT
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
TV: Fox

Point Spread: CHI +3/DET -3 (Intertops)
Over/Under Total: 44.5

The Chicago Bears come to Ford Field to take on the Detroit Lions in a week one NFC North matchup, as each team kicks off its 2020 season. Both look for better in 2020 after letdown seasons. Chicago won 12 games in ’18, only to see their recipe fall flat in ’19 with an 8-8 record. Meanwhile, the Lions saw their win-total get cut in half with a 3-12-1 mark, and now coach Matt Patricia is on the hot-seat. Who can get this on the right track and start off the season with a strong outing at Ford Field.

What 2019 Tells Us

Even with the Bears not having the season they were hoping for last year, they were still able to post two wins over their divisional foe Detroit. Both were reasonably close one-score contests. A Detroit optimist could rightfully cite Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford’s absence from both games as added ammo to forecast better results this season. And truth be told, Stafford was looking as good as ever before the injury bug started biting. So if I were a Chicago backer, Stafford being in there alone isn’t grounds to be hesitant to take Chicago, but I wouldn’t take much solace in last year’s season-sweep, either.

Changes from Last Season

Actually, they’re not a ton of big ones—somewhat surprising given the current trajectory of both teams. Chicago added Nick Foles but will start Mitchell Trubisky, who really fell flat last season. Getting LB Robert Quinn is nice, and adding a good tight end in the draft in Cole Kmet to go along with Jimmy Graham gives Trubisky a nice tight end package. Still, that offense looks a little strapped for real playmakers and, on paper, is one of the weakest offenses in the league.

Detroit had higher draft picks and hopes they latched onto something with top corner prospect Jeff Okudah and RB D’Andre Swift (questionable). They even made a late signing in getting Adrian Peterson, and with Kerryon Johnson and Bo Scarborough, they have a loaded backfield. Adding three former standout New England defenders in Jamie Collins, Danny Shelton, and Duron Harmon could also help, as they are now reunited with their former coordinator. Adding capable Desmond Trufant to a secondary that needs horses should also help.

Detroit Offense vs. Chicago Defense

This could be where the game is won or lost. Chicago had a historically-good defense in ’18, slipping some in ’19, but still largely responsible for the Bears being able to salvage an 8-8 season. But while they won’t approach that ’18 form, they should still be among the best units in the NFC. That Detroit offensive line looks really good on paper, but this is a year where on-the-field form needs to actually come around to what’s on paper. Chicago can still rush the heck out of the passer, led by Khalil Mack. Eddie Goldman opting out is a big blow, but they have a pretty deep rotation of beef up front, and getting Quinn really helps, as Leonard Floyd’s pass-rush from that spot had waned. They have a stout secondary with massive playmaking upside, but Kyle Fuller needs to atone for a bad season, while a lot will be asked of rookie corner Jaylon Johnson.

With Stafford back there working with a loaded cast of running backs, how well he connects with Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola, and TE TJ Hockenson will be key. I think Chicago might not as rigid against the run this season, giving Detroit an opportunity to make noise in that area. But if Stafford looks like he did before going down last season and this receiver corps stays healthy for a change, this offense should be able to hit the ground running. A lot of people are high on this offense, and it’s easy to see why.

Can Chicago’s Offense Keep Pace?

The Bears rely on defense and have hope in this matchup that the “D” can basically control the game. But if they fall even a little short, the offense will have to pick up the slack—not a given based on what we saw last season. They start the season without RB David Montgomery, which doesn’t help. The offensive line has become dicey in the last few seasons with departures. Their run-game has regressed. Trubisky’s career course has gone sideways. And with his best tools being Allen Robinson, Tarik Cohen, Anthony Miller, Ted Ginn, Jr, and Graham, it’s hard to form a rosy outlook for this bunch.

Patricia’s handiwork on Detroit’s defense needs to resonate this season, or he could be sent packing. Losing your best DB is bad, as Darius Slay has departed. The addition of Okudah and Trufant needs to pay off for a new-look secondary. The additions of Shelton, Harmon, and Collins need to resonate. It’s just that there has been nothing special through two seasons under Patricia, and they still lack the star-power on this side of the ball and need a lot to go right to become a top-half unit in 2020. They look to rely on offense, while the Bears rely on “D.” Who can see their style of play rise to the top on Sunday?

Take the Home Favorite

In a guttural sense, laying three on a three-win team who dropped two to the same opponent last season doesn’t settle as well as some bets. Still, in a somewhat-subtle sense, I see Detroit getting better, while the Bears have gotten worse. Chicago is down to relying on a defense that isn’t as good as it used to be and is getting even less support from the other side of the ball. The Bears’ offense may have gotten worse, with the front losing steam and starting the season without a proven every-down back. I just see enough good things happening for the Lions on Sunday, as they get the season off to a good start. I’ll take the Lions.

Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Detroit Lions minus three points.

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