Detroit News scouting report: Lions at Bears

Detroit News

Matt Schoch
 |  Special to The Detroit News

Lions at Bears

Kickoff: 1 p.m., Sunday, Soldier Field, Chicago

TV/radio: Fox/760

Records: Lions 4-7; Bears 5-6

Line: Bears by 3

Matt Schoch breaks down the Lions’ Week 13 matchup against the Chicago Bears for The Detroit News:

Key matchup

CHICAGO PASSING OFFENSE VS. LIONS PASS DEFENSE

After years of playing man-to-man against Mitchell Trubisky, will Darrell Bevell and Cory Undlin switch things up?

Former Lions coach Matt Patricia would not bend from his principles, even against Trubisky, who has struggled against zone defense his entire career.

Trubisky went 4-0 against Patricia in his career, throwing 12 touchdowns and one interception. Bears coach Matt Nagy is 5-0 against the Lions.

Subscription: Detroit News predictions: Lions at Bears

On Sunday, they will be going up against a horrendous Detroit pass defense, allowing 7.3 yards per passing play (28th in NFL) and 262.8 yards per game (26th).

Desmond Trufant is out for the Lions, so expect plenty of cornerback Mike Ford in relief, joining Amani Oruwariye, Justin Coleman and Jeff Okudah, if the rookie (shoulder) is healthy enough to go.

Bears to watch

►Allen Robinson, WR: Am I crazy for thinking Robinson is one of the elite wide receivers in the NFL? The Orchard Lake St. Mary’s product is again among the league’s best statistically, and that’s again with a challenging quarterback situation. He’s been obviously the best weapon on offense since arriving in Chicago and still manages to be productive, making difficult catches appear somewhat routine.

►Akiem Hicks, DE: Hicks was held out of last week’s loss against Green Bay with a hamstring injury. As the Packers racked up 41 points to take a 31-point lead on Chicago, Hicks’ importance became even more apparent. The 2018 Pro Bowler doesn’t get as much hype as Khalil Mack on the other side, but he’s been the rock of this defense since arriving in 2016. At 31 years old and one year left on his deal, he could be a trade candidate this offseason for a team that needs to get younger and better offensively.

►Khalil Mack, LB: Sure, we’ll put Mack on here too; there’s not much to watch with this Bears team either. Mack, 29, is still one of the league’s best with his 6.5 sacks this season still in the NFL’s top 20. The 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year has a back injury, so keep an eye on his status this weekend. But the Buffalo product is one of the best players in Mid-American Conference history and a generational talent as a pass rusher.

Facts and figures

According to playpicks.com, the Bears’ games have hit the under seven out of 11 times this season, while the Detroit’s games have hit the over seven out of 11 times. Hovering around the 45-point mark throughout the week, this is going to be one of the lowest over/under totals on the Week 13 board.

► The Bears are averaging less than 4 yards per carry this season, one of eight teams below that mark. However, running back David Montgomery waltzed to 9.4 yards per carry is last week’s loss to the Packers, compiling 103 yards on 11 carries. Still, against the 26th-ranked rushing offense in the league, the Lions could be set up for success by putting Trubisky into some third-and-longs.

► Interim head coaches have combined to go 8-5 this year with one (Romeo Crennel of Houston) beating the Lions and the other (Raheem Morris of Atlanta) taking an L against Detroit. Both those coaches earned wins in their first games with their new clubs. Can Bevell keep the streak alive?

Matt Schoch is a writer for PlayMichigan.com and freelances for The Detroit News.

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