CHICAGO BEARS (9-6)
at DETROIT LIONS (4-11)
Kickoff: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Chicago -3, Total: 44.5
Chicago tries to stay in the playoff hunt when it visits slumping Detroit on Sunday.
The Bears need to win and get some help to make the postseason. They’ve beaten the Lions SU in eight of their past nine meetings (4-4-1 ATS) including a 13-7 win at home in Week 7, in which they completely smothered the Detroit offense. The Lions have lost seven in a row SU (1-6 ATS), and they’ve struggled even more than usual lately. With their receiving corps ravaged by injuries, they’ve managed just 26 offensive points the past two weeks. The Bears snapped a three-game losing streak of their own with a win at Arizona last week. They’re 4-3 SU and ATS on the road.
Can the Lions end the Bears playoff hopes on Sunday? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts picks for every NFL game throughout the 2012 season and playoffs.
Chicago certainly has some injury concerns, but it appears that both RB Matt Forte (ankle) and LB Brian Urlacher (hamstring) will be able to play this week. Forte has dominated the Lions in his career, racking up 1,075 total yards and 7 TD in his past nine games against them. Urlacher hasn't played since Week 13, but he can only help an already-excellent defense that has a +16 turnover ratio and allows just 315 total YPG (5.1 yards per play). The Bears run defense was outstanding last week, holding the Cardinals to 29 rushing yards on 19 carries. Even with Forte not 100 percent, the duo of QB Jay Cutler and WR Brandon Marshall should be able to excel against a Detroit passing defense giving up 222 passing YPG. Marshall is finishing up a career year that has seen him pile up 113 receptions for 1,466 yards and 11 TD.
Detroit has been a terrible bet at home this year, going 1-5-1 ATS (2-5 SU) at Ford Field. But as long as WR Calvin Johnson is healthy, the Lions have a chance to win. He broke Jerry Rice's single-season receiving yardage record as part of his 11-catch, 225-yard breakout performance in Saturday's 31-18 defeat to Atlanta. Although Johnson has now gained at least 100 yards in eight straight games, he didn't find much room to operate against the Bears' top-notch secondary in Week 7, fishing with a season-low three catches and 34 yards. Despite Chicago's prowess in the passing game and ability to pick off passes, airing out the football is what Detroit does best. QB Matthew Stafford has thrown for an eye-popping 4,695 yards, and is just 3-5 yards away from becoming the first player ever to throw for 5,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.