Bears vs. Lions Prediction: The return of Justin Fields
Brad Rempel - USA Today Sports

Bears vs. Lions Prediction: The return of Justin Fields

by - Senior Writer -

The next three weeks will be crucial to the Chicago Bears as all three games come inside their own division. That starts with the Detroit Lions on Sunday before finishing up with the Vikings and the Lions again. If things go according to plans for the Bears, they could find themselves right back in the thick of the NFC playoff hunt, pushing toward the season's final month.

Well, that may be the goal, but the likelihood of that happening is slim to none as one of the more challenging parts of the Bears schedule is lining up. On a positive note, Justin Fields has not only been cleared to practice again, but he has been announced as the starter on Sunday after missing the last four games. His added element to the offense will provide this team with an instant spark, although they were finding new ways to win games with Tyson Bagent under center.

Even with Fields back in the mix, this Lions team has yet to be talked about enough this season, and they should be. Yes, they lost to the Seahawks at home and got blown out by the Ravens on the road, but both of those teams are playoff-caliber teams. Detroit also has a win at Kansas City in week one, which is no easy feat, and going back to last season, this has been one of the best teams in the NFC.

That won't deter the Bears from giving Detroit one heck of a battle, as in most divisional games. Detroit has the better roster and better coach, but at this point, the Bears have nothing to lose and may be playing about as loose as possible because of it.

Here are some things to look for in week 11.

This isn't the same old Lions

Not long ago, the Detroit Lions were the laughingstock of the NFC North, if not the entire NFL. Well, those days are long gone, and now it is the Chicago Bears filling the role as the laughing stock in the division. Say what you want about Dan Campbell and how he goes about some things, but the man can coach, and he is proving it now.

In his third season with the Lions, Campbell is coming off a year where the Lions went 9-8 and just missed the playoffs and have now gotten off to a 7-2 start for just the third time in franchise history. Going a bit further, and over their last 18 games, this Lions team is 14-4, so their hot start to the season is no longer a small sample size.

Detroit took the lumps the Bears are taking now for far too long, and because of that, they were able to stockpile a ton of draft capital that appears to be paying off. Hiring Campbell and then going to trade for Jared Goff was the icing on the cake, as Goff has played like an MVP at times during his tenure with the Lions. As always, the Lions defense was holding them back, but for the most part they have figured things out for Aaron Glenn this season.

Fields is back in the mix

Despite the Bears offense having their ups and downs the past four weeks, they managed to go 2-2 with Bagent as their starter. Compare that to the 1-5 record of Fields, and some will continue to say there is a QB controversy in Chicago, although that isn't the case. While Bagent was winning more games than Fields this season, he isn't the better QB, and now the Bears are getting their franchise QB back under center this week.

For the most part, it has been more of the same for Fields this season, although he has proven he can be more of a pocket passer. That isn't always a good thing for the Bears, but an excellent thing for opposing defenses as they haven't had to worry about Fields legs a ton this season. That alone is mind-blowing if you ask coaches around the league, as the escape ability of Fields is a massive part of his game. The more he is doing that, the better he can be, and it will be interesting to see if Luke Getsy allows Fields to run a bit more than he has this season.

Hello, old friend

One of the toughest things to watch this offseason was seeing former Bears RB David Montgomery sign with the Lions. After spending four years in Chicago, where he was the workhorse back, Montgomery hit the open market and signed a lengthy deal with Detroit to become their lead back. That was a crucial move for the Lions as they parted ways with DeAndre Swift before drafting Jahmyr Gibbs in the first round.

Granted, Gibbs is the more explosive of the two, Montgomery is still the Lions lead back as they have a running game for the first time since the Barry Sanders days. Montgomery may not be as good production-wise as he was in Chicago, but he doesn't have to be with this Lions offense.

All he needs to do is fill his role, move the chains, and take pressure off Goff and the passing game. That is what he is doing this season, and he has done it phenomenally. You can bet there will be some emotions going through his head in this one as he faces his former team for the first time, but that might also motivate him as he was sick of the losing culture in Chicago and went on record to say that several times.

Prediction: Lions win 34-23

Consider how these teams will meet twice in the next three weeks; you could have two very different-looking game plans each time out. This week's match-up is in Detroit, where the Lions have had only one loss this season and just three in the past two years. What was once a relatively easy place to play is becoming a challenging venue that will only get tougher as the playoff race heats up.

From top to bottom, the Lions are the better-run organization, and all you have to do is point to this team's success right now. They have a coach who understands what it takes to rebuild this team. They have a group that buys into what their coach is preaching, and they have an owner who is patient enough to trust the process and give his team what they need to succeed.

All those things are something the Bears are lacking and would like to have in the near future, and Chicago can use the Lions as an example of how to reach the level you want to be at. Look for Chicago to put up a fight early with Fields back in the mix, but this Lions team is just too good right now, as they will grab the win against Chicago 34-24.

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