After losing five straight contests, the Chicago Bears finally put together a victory against the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday. They will look to make it two wins in a row when they take on their NFC North rivals, the Detroit Lions, this Saturday evening.
The Bears and Lions have already played once this season in Week 11. Detroit came into Soldier Field and delivered Chicago a 27-24 defeat.
The postseason is far from a reality for the Bears at this point. However, it would be great for the franchise to string together a few victories to finish out the season. In addition, there would be some pleasure gained in assisting in keeping the Lions out of the playoffs.
Week 15 Chicago Bears Keys to Victory
A Successful Run Game
The strength of the Bears offense is in their ability to run the football. Chicago has totaled 1,618 yards on the ground and is averaging 124.5 rushing yard per game. Just last week, Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen combined for 227 yards, appearing to be a solid one-two punch in the ground game. If the Bears want to succeed against the Lions on Saturday, the rushing attack is going to have to be effective.
Luckily for Chicago, Detroit has struggled to defend the run. Through 13 games, the Lions are the fifth-worst run defense, allowing 116.3 yards on the ground per game. In addition, they have given up 17 rushing touchdowns, a league worst.
Although Mitch Trubisky is making progress, he is not quite ready to put this Bears offense on his shoulders. Chicago needs Howard and Cohen to do that. If those two can get the run game going early, the passing game will open up and Trubisky will be given another opportunity to demonstrate his potential.
Containing Matthew Stafford
Is containing Matthew Stafford even possible? When he is on his game, not really. Although his team has been unable to achieve similar success to those of other great quarterbacks, Stafford is still one of the most talented men under center in the entire National Football League.
In the 2017 season, Stafford has completed 65.6% of his passes, thrown for 3,683 yards, and found the back of the end zone 23 times. Chicago simply does not have the secondary to match up with him. If they are going to want to limit Stafford’s production, they are going to need to apply a lot of pressure early.
Force Detroit to Run the Ball
Contrary to the Lions productive passing game, Detroit has struggled mightily with running the football. In fact, they have the NFL’s worst running game due to poor performances by both their running backs and the offensive line. Through 13 games, the Lions are averaging 76.3 rushing yards a game, and are the only team who hasn’t recorded over 1,000 yards on the ground this season. In addition, the Bears defense has been quite successful against the run this season. So if the Lions are forced to take the game to the ground, it is unlikely they would experience much success.
In order to defeat the Lions, the Bears have to take them out of their comfort zone. Slowing down Stafford and forcing Detroit to run ball would do just that.
The Bears are a young, unproven roster whose talent is still developing. For Chicago, games are unable to be won with just skill alone. For this reason, they must play smart and stay disciplined. Committing foolish turnovers and penalties could put this team in a whole they cannot get out of.