Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears: Week 10 game prediction

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 19: Quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions throws a pass in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 19, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 19: Quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions throws a pass in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 19, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images) /
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The Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears game in week 10 will be played with a certain degree of desperation by both teams, but for different reasons.

Detroit is in serious danger of seeing their season unravel. They sit at 3-5. Another loss could cripple any hopes of making the playoffs. Chicago, on the other hand, is nursing a tenuous lead in the NFC North at 5-3. Minnesota is right on their heels and they can’t afford a setback now. Especially not against a divisional opponent that the Vikings already beat last week.

Which team will be able to play their best? Time to examine the matchup to find out.

Storylines:

Matthew Stafford under siege – The Lions fell apart in Minnesota, allowing their quarterback to get sacked an unprecedented 10 times. He’s been sacked at least three times in four of the past five games. That is not something that can possibly be sustainable. Stafford is tough but there’s a limit to how much the human body can take before it has enough.

Bears and the division drought – The NFC North has owned the Bears for the better part of five years. They haven’t had a winning record in the division since 2010, coincidentally the last time they made the playoffs. They’re already 0-1 after the tough loss to Green Bay. With three games in a row at hand, they know this stretch could make or break their entire season.

Injuries:

Darius Slay (knee) – The Lions held out hope all week that their star cornerback would be able to play through a lingering knee problem as he did against Minnesota. However, after failing to practice all week it became apparent that wasn’t going to happen. His loss drops the number of healthy corners the team has to three, which is dangerous living in the NFL.

Khalil Mack (ankle) – Chicago has lived without their stud pass rusher for the past two weeks as he tried to rest the ankle he rolled in the game against Miami. The gamble paid off and Mack has since returned to practice without restrictions. The timing couldn’t be better as their edge rush has been rather quiet without him.

Key matchups:

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Charles Leno Jr. vs. Ezekiel Ansah – With Slay out, the best hope the Lions defense has of seizing control of the game will be with defensive end Ezekiel Ansah. He has to win his matchup with Bears left tackle Charles Leno Jr. The last time they met in Detroit, Leno kept him quiet with just two pressures on Mitch Trubisky. Leno has had his number for the past two years. That has to change.

Marvin Jones vs. Kyle Fuller – The trade of Golden Tate to Philadelphia has put more responsibility on Lions receiver Marvin Jones to carry the load. That’s not going to be easy, especially against Kyle Fuller who is in the midst of a potential All-Pro season. Jones has done well against him before though, topping 80 yards in each of the past two meetings.

X-factors:

Allen Robinson – The Bears passing offense hasn’t been quite as explosive the past couple of weeks. Part of it was playing two good defenses but also the absence of top receiver Allen Robinson. He makes a big difference when he’s on the field. His chemistry with Trubisky was evident before he went down with his groin problem. Now he’s back and eager to go.

Kerryon Johnson – The Lions are a different team depending on what their rookie running back does each week. Put it this way. When he’s been able to rush for 70 yards or more in a game, Detroit is 3-0. When he’s finished under that? They’re 0-5. After the debacle last week, they must find a way to get him going. No easy task against the #3 run defense in the league.

Prediction:  Bears win 24-20

Divisional games are always different. They’re tough and tight most of the way. Detroit has responded with strong performances following bad losses before. This time around should be no different. That said, the Bears just seem to have every conceivable edge. They’re on a winning streak, they’re at home and they’re the healthier team by a considerable margin. They will make it tougher than it needs to be but will end up getting the job done.