Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears Point Spread – Pick Against the Spread

Note: If you’re looking for
the 2013 Week 10 matchup between these two teams, please go here: Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears Pick.

Detroit Lions ( 2-3 SU, 1-4 ATS) vs. Chicago Bears (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS)
NFL Week 7
Date/Time: Monday, October 22, 8:40 PM EST
Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
TV: ESPN/DirecTV 206
by Vesper Abadon, Football Handicapper,

Point Spread: Det +5/Chi -5
Over/Under Total: 47.5

Is there a team in the NFL more disappointing than the Detroit Lions at this point in time? The team finished last season with a 10-6 record and an appearance in the Playoffs, so expectations were understandably high as quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson were primed to take the deprived franchise on an even deeper run in 2012. The Lions were expected to battle for NFC North supremacy, but now they sit in last place behind some surprising teams.

One of those teams is the Chicago Bears, who the Lions will face in the “Windy City” on Monday Night Football. The Bears, who finished 2011 with a lackluster 8-8 record, surprised a lot of folks early on and now sit atop the NFC North with a 4-1 record, thanks in large part to a defense ranked third in the NFL and a revamped rushing attack (10th in the NFL) led by Matt Forte and Michael Bush.

Prior to the start of the season, Bears’ Offensive Coordinator Mike Tice said he wanted to utilize both Forte and Bush, and he’s done a good job of doing just that. Both backs have 58 carries, with the former racking up 270 yards with a touchdown and the latter 206 yards with three touchdowns. Those numbers suggest, much to the dismay of fantasy owners everywhere, that Forte shoulders the early load while Bush handles goal-line carries. Whatever the case, it’s a 1-2 punch that’s kept opposing defenses on their feet.

In other offensive news, the Bears added Brandon Marshall in the offseason, and it’s proved a fruitful decision. The former Miami Dolphin has 35 catches for 496 yards and three touchdowns, numbers of par with “Megatron” (see below). Tossing him the ball is his former Denver teammate, Jay Cutler, who is quietly having a decent season completing 90 of 156 passes for 1,209 yards and seven touchdowns. The Bears are ranked a lowly 23rd in passing, but neither Cutler nor Marshall should be taken lightly.

As far as the Lions are concerned, they’ve actually got a lot going for them, though their execution has been lacking. They boast the second-best offense in the league, which includes the second-best passing attack and 19th-ranked ground game. Their defense is actually quite good too, ranked 9th in the NFL by holding opponents to 99.8 rush yards per game and 319.8 passing yards per game.

On paper the Lions are an excellent team, but fans are discouraged. Stafford has just four touchdown passes, while Johnson has a single touchdown catch-a far cry from last year when they seemed to be a nonstop scoring tandem. With that said, Stafford has completed 136 of 218 passes for 1,493 yards and Johnson has 35 receptions for 558 yards (15.9 average), which means they do have a potent aerial assault-they just need to find the endzone more.

With the exception of last week, the Lions have found ways to lose games. The talent is still in place to replicate last seasons’ success, but they’ll need to recapture that magic sooner than later if they hope to make another run at the Playoffs. An overtime win against the Philadelphia Eagles was a good first step, but they’ll need to keep the ball rolling headed into Chicago, an important divisional game.

Vesper Abadon’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Bears are coming off their Bye Week and have had more than enough time to prepare for their long-time rivals. In addition, the temperature is dropping in Chicago, so Soldier Field will prove inhospitable for the Dome-friendly visitors. With that said, the Lions are coming off an emotional win, playing hard, and have a great opportunity to pull closer to a division rival. They’ve got one more week before their own Bye Week, so I expect they’ll come out firing and leave everything on the field. Both teams will play tough, no doubt resulting in a slugfest, but I believe the Lions will keep things close enough to beat the spread if not walk away with a straight-up win. I’m betting the Lions plus the points!

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