Chicago Bears (9-6 SU, 7-8 ATS) vs. Detroit Lions (4-11 SU, 4-10-1 ATS)
NFL Football Week 17
Date/Time: Sunday December 30th, 2012. 1:00PM Eastern
Where: Ford Field Detroit, M.I.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Chi -3/Det +3
Over/Under Total: 43
The Chicago Bears may not control their postseason destiny but they still may be in the best position to grab the final wildcard spot this Sunday. Minnesota would actually clinch the final playoff spot in the NFC with a victory in week 17 but the Vikings will have the unfortunate luxury of hosting the red hot Green Bay Packers with an ailing Adrian Peterson in the backfield. If the Vikings fail to beat the Packers, the Bears would be in position to capitalize if they can overcome ‘Megatron’ and the Detroit Lions this Sunday at Ford Field.
After a mediocre 4-4 start, the Lions have collapsed by losing their last 7 games. Offensively, Detroit has been solid averaging 414 total yards per game which ranks 2nd in the NFL. QB Matthew Stafford is 305 passing yards away from becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to record back to back 5,000 yard seasons. Of course Stafford has struggled at times this year with 16 picks to his credit, but he has still been solid nevertheless. Clearly WR Calvin Johnson has been a huge part of that success. Last week Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s single season receiving yards record by catching 11 passes for 225 yards. Johnson’s season total now stands at 1,892 yards this year and he has a legitimate shot to reach 2,000 yards which may have previously thought to be untouchable.
I would be willing to bet that Johnson hits that 2,000 mark this Sunday because he is such a centerfold to the Detroit offense. The Lions may even be able to score a few points against that extremely tough Chicago defense that has given up just 16.9 points (2nd in NFL) per game. Still if the Lions do not get some help from their defense, they will almost certainly close out the season with their 8th straight loss. Unfortunately, Detroit’s defense has been horrific giving up 27.4 points (29th in NFL) per game. The Lions defense has actually been worse than that in recent weeks giving up 33 points on average over their last 5 outings. Therefore can you really expect this defense to slow down Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, and Brandon Marshall?
Sure Cutler has a tendency to open the door for opponents by turning the ball over. After all Cutler has tossed 14 interceptions this year compared to just 18 scores while sporting a measly 58 percent completion percentage. If Cutler tosses a few more picks this Sunday, perhaps the Lions can contend for the victory and keep a bit of pressure off their defense. However if Cutler is remotely effective, the Bears offense presents some match-up problems for the under talented Lions defense.
Despite all the public attention surrounding Calvin Johnson, Bears’ WR Brandon Marshall has quietly put together an outstanding season with 113 catches for 1,466 yards and 11 touchdowns. Marshall should be able to keep pressure on the Detroit secondary which will allow running back Matt Forte the opportunity to keep the chains moving. Forte was a big part of the Bears 13-7 victory over Detroit back in week 7 and could play another important role yet again. In that previous meeting, Forte carried the ball 22 times for 96 yards to help the Bears keep the chains moving and dominate the time of possession battle. If that happens again this Sunday, the Bears should be in good shape to pull out the victory barring too many Cutler interceptions.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Chicago has not exactly been playing well but this game means much more to them than Detroit. Additionally, the Lions are just 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games at home. I believe the Bears will win the time of possession battle once again and manufacture points to pull out a low scoring victory. The under 43 may be the best play but I would also leans towards the Bears -3 as well. Good luck!
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