The Detroit Lions need to rebound from a bad loss this week, and these five players must play well Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
The Detroit Lions started this season 1-6, but it’s not hyperbole to say the had their worst game of the season in Week 16 against the Carolina Panthers. The theme around the building this week has been moving on with lessons learned, and getting ready for the Chicago Bears in Week 17.
The Bears are 3-12, and they’ve lost eight in a row. They’ve been competitive for chunks of some games, including Week 10 against the Lions, but they ultimately haven’t had quite enough to finish.
The Lions are big favorites at home, and Sunday’s game is one they really must win to keep their playoff chances afloat. A playoff team, or one that hopes to be in the playoffs with some help, will take care of business against a bad team.
The Lions need to, and frankly should, put a mark in the win column this week. To get it done, these five players will have to play well.
5 Detroit Lions who must play well in Week 17 vs. Chicago Bears
5. LB Alex Anzalone
After a poor first season with the Lions last year Anzalone has had a solid season this year, with a team-leading 110 tackles along with six pass breakups, six tackles for loss, one interception and 1.5 sacks. Most notably, via Pro Football Reference, he has cut his missed tackle rate in roughly half compared to 2021 (7.6 percent; 16.1 percent last year).
If the Lions’ run defense is going to be better this week, of course including containing quarterback Justin Fields, Anzalone will play a central role. He rarely leaves the field, and if Aaron Glenn decides to use a spy on Fields it will him.
4. S Kerby Joseph
Joseph has stepped into a big role since Tracy Walker went down with an Achilles’ injury in Week 3, with the expected ups and downs a rookie with one full year of college experience as a safety would have.
One of the down moments this year was in Week 10 against the Bears. Tight end Cole Kmet burned the Lions for 74 yards and two touchdowns in that game, with Joseph as the primary culprit on both scores. The rookie safety also whiffed on a tackle attempt when Fields ran for a long touchdown.
With DeShon Elliott (shoulder) looking likely to miss a second straight game, but really independent of that, Joseph has to tighten things up in the rematch against the Bears.