Nov 23, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
When the Bears Have the Ball…
The Bears have struggled to put up points all season, even against a defensive doormat like the Tampa Bay Bucs. They’re in for a shock to the system on Thurday, with their 19th ranked scoring offense, tallying 21.5 PPG, going against the Lions’ top-ranked scoring defense, allowing only a measly 17.3 PPG. The Lions are ranked 3rd overall in yardage, giving up an average of 303.8 YPG while the Bears offense is ranked 16th averaging 346.5 YPG.
Bears Passing Offense (14th, 246.1YPG) vs Lions Pass Defense (10th, 233.1 YPG)
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The Bears have not moved the ball nearly as well through the air as the talent (and paychecks) would suggest. The Bears have struggled to get the ball downfield, settling for check downs, swing passes and tunnel screens. Some scribes think that Trestman has put the clamps on the turnover machine otherwise known as Jay Cutler in an effort to stick around in games and get a few wins. Mission accomplished.
The Bears cannot go into the game on Thursday and expect to nickel and dime their way up and down the field. If there is a vulnerability on the Lions defense, it’s in the passing game. The Lions were held without a sack the last two weeks, so perhaps with some time Cutler can get vertical to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Ziggy Ansah leads the Lions with 5.5 sacks, while Suh has 4.5 of his own. The Lions secondary is improving, but still has vulnerabilities on the outside. Safery Richard Quinn leads the Lions with three interceptions.
Bears Rushing Offense (20th, 100,5 YPG) vs Lions Rush Defense (1st, 70.7 YPG)
Week after week, we’ve been begging the Bears to get the ball to Matt Forte. This may not be the game to do so. Not against the Lions and their top ranked rush defense. Their defensive line is anchored by Ndamukong Suh, who is disruptive in all phases of the game. If the other Nick Fairly can go on Thursday, the Bears will have to keep a body on him, especially in the ground game.
Matt Forte has been a one-man show for the Bears offense, the focus of both the running and passing game. Either way, Forte will have to deal with linebacker DeAndre Levy, who’s leading the Lions in tackles.