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Lions vs. Chicago Bears Pick.
Detroit Lions (6-2, 5-2-1 ATS) v. Chicago Bears (5-3, 4-4 ATS), NFL Week 10, Nov. 13, 4:15pm ET, Soldier Field, FOX
by Evergreen, Sports Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Det (+3)/CHI (-3)
Over/Under Total: 46
The NFL Playoff picture is starting to take shape as the season enters it’s second half and a pivotal game in the NFC North is on tap as the Detroit Lions travel to Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears. Both teams are trying to keep division leader Green Bay in their sites but both also know that a Wild Card berth is likely the more realistic goal and a win this week will go a long way in that pursuit. The Bears are looking to even the ledger as the Lions clipped them by a 24-13 margin in Week 5 at Detroit and will jump into a second place tie in the division at 6-3 with a W. The game kicks in the 4:15 pm ET slot on FOX.
Given the Bears Week 9 Monday Night Football game, the lines are still trickling in, but most online betting sites have Chicago as a three point favorite with some offshore sportsbooks trimming thepoint spreadto two and a half. Limited money line info is out there with the Lions around +135 and the Bears at -155 with the over/under total at 46.
Detroit enters the week coming off a bye and is one of the best stories of the NFL season so far as they have turned things around from years past and enter the week with a strong 6-2 record. After jumping out to a 5-0 start that included solid wins at Tampa Bay and Dallas, the Lions fell in consecutive home games against San Francisco and Atlanta before thumping the Broncos in Denver before the off week. In the first meeting, Jahvid Best got the best of the Bears D, gouging them on an 88-yard touchdown run on the way to 163 yards rushing while Calvin Johnson turned in his typical strong effort, grabbing 5 balls for 130 yards and a score.
Chicago made most forget they won the NFC North in 2010 after getting off to a 2-3 start, but three straight wins, including the most recent at Philly, have Bears fans looking forward to another potential run at the NFC Championship. The offensive line played especially well this past Monday Night as they did not give up a sack and Jay Cutler and Matt Forte were able to put solid numbers on the way to an upset. The Bears did lead the Lions 10-7 at the half in the first meeting this year but only managed 3 points in the second half. Chicago had gotten the better of this rivalry in recent years before Week 5, including winning both meetings in 2010 by 24-20 and 19-14 margins.
Detroit’s turnaround has been mostly due to a significant improvement on offense with a healthy Matthew Stafford leading the passing game to the 10th most yards per game and the Lions enter the week scoring 29.9 per contest, good for 3rd in the NFL. The defense is solid, especially against the pass, giving up only 193 yards per game through the air but have struggled against the run, allowing 137 yards on average. Ndamukong Suh highlights a D that allows just 18.4 points and he surely has intentions on visiting Mr. Cutler often on Sunday.
Chicago can do a bit of everything on offense, but won’t stress out any opposing defense with either facet, ranking 18th in passing and 11th in rushing but have made the most of it on the scoreboard, entering the week in the top-10 at 25 points per game. The defense showed how well it can play in containing Michael Vick and the Eagles but does give up it’s share of yards while allowing about a field goal more per game than the Lions. Brian Urlacher and Co. can still be fearsome but will need to find to stop the Stafford/Megatron combo in order to slow Detroit.
Stafford might be the best quarterback in the North if not for that Aaron Rodgers guy, and has thrown for 2,179 yards on 61% completions with 19 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions. Jahvid Best is a dual threat out of the backfield averaging 112 yards from scrimmage but is listed as doubtful for the game with his second concussion of the year. Calvin Johnson is making a case for the best wideout title and is on pace for 1,600 yards and 22 touchdowns and Stafford loves to look for his tight ends near the endzone with Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler combining for 5 TD receptions.
Cutler has been on the run from opposing rushers most of the year but has been good especially in the wins and has thrown for 1,910 yards with 11 scores against 6 interceptions. Matt Forte should get serious MVP consideration with the back responsible for 805 rushing yards while leading the team with 436 receiving yards. Earl Bennett is back as Cutler’s favorite receiving option but the receiving group is very average overall and may be without Devin Hester, currently listed as questionable with an ankle injury. Tackle Gabe Carimi and TE Kellen Davis are also questionable for Sunday.
Detroit has been on a good run lately away from home, going 5-0-1 ATS in the last 6 as visitors and have a 10-2 ATS mark in their last 12 against teams with a winning record. Chicago has performed well as the favorite, going 4-1 against the spread as home favs and 5-1 in the last 6 games overall in which the were favored. The over/under trends are split with the Lions hitting the over insix of the lastseven on the road but the Bears have paid the under in four of the last five againt division foes. The Sagarin rating have Detroit at third with Chicago in the four slot but the pure points indicator have the Lions ranked 2nd with the Bears a bit further back in 8th.
Evergreen’s pick to beat the point spread: I like the Detroit defense to have a better shot to slow Forte than the Monsters of the Midway have to hold down Calvin Johnson. The Lions have had two weeks and the Bears are on short rest so look for a very polished performance by Stafford while Cutler will not make it two weeks unscathed. Lions 26 Bears 20.
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