The Detroit Lions have a much better record than the Chicago Bears, but these are two teams trending in different directions. Detroit started out hot on defense, but they have been struggling in recent weeks. One of their biggest issues has been their defense of tight ends.
Chicago Bears should lean on Cole Kmet to beat Detroit Lions
The Lions have allowed six touchdowns to tight ends, which is tied for the second most in the NFL. What is notable is that they have not faced many teams with big-name tight ends. However, it is the depth tight ends who have gotten them.
They rank 31st against 21 personnel, which is two backs and a tight end on the field. They rank 19th against 12 personnel, which is two tight ends and one running back, and they rank 25th against 13 personnel, which is three tight ends. Detroit struggles here because it brings their slower linebackers, who are not as good in coverage, onto the field. This is when the tight ends feast on them. Alex Anzalone is expected to play, but he is their best coverage linebacker, and he is dealing with a hand injury.
The Bears should get Khari Blasingame and Marcedes Lewis involved early, but this is something they have done a lot more since trading Chase Claypool and having a thinner wide receiver corps.
The Lions have given up plays to Noah Gray, Colby Parkinson, Jonnu Smith, and Josiah Deguara, and last week, they gave up a touchdown to Jimmy Graham and a big pass to Foster Moreau.
Cole Kmet ranks sixth in expected points added from the tight end position this year. The only player in the top five that Detroit has faced is Mark Andrews. When they faced Mark Andrews, he had four catches for 64 yards and two touchdowns in a blowout against the Lions.
Cole Kmet only had three catches for 20 yards in the first game against Detroit, but it was the first game for Justin Fields back in the mix, and he leaned on his legs. Out of the bye week, the Chicago Bears should see Fields establish the connection that had Kmet on pace for a career year before the Fields injury.
Look for Kmet to bounce back and have a better game against the Lions this week