Three Things to watch, Prediction: Bears-Lions
|Friday, September 11, 2020, 1:07 PM- -|
At long last, the NFL season is upon us as the Bears kick things off against Detroit this weekend. While things will look entirely different this season, we can say we will have football after months of uncertainty surrounding the sport.
Chicago is one of the teams in the NFC that is a mystery this season as they could potentially be a postseason team, but at the same time be a five- or six-win team. The team has gone through many offensive personnel changes, and the defense has retooled itself to become an elite unit once again.
With no preseason games and limited contact in practice so far, it is hard to guess what kind of football we will see in week one. Fortunately, Chicago isn't the only team going through that issue as that was the norm this summer for NFL camps. For the Bears, it is a familiar foe in week one as Chicago travels to the Motor City to battle their division rival Lions.
Detroit had a very rough season a year ago, but they are one of those teams destined to surprise this season, so Chicago better not look past them. Here are three things to look for heading into week 1.
How will Mitch Trubisky look?
Entering training camp, the Bears had a quarterback battle between Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles. Trubisky emerged as the starter during the final week of camp, and for the time being, the keys are his. The question remains how long the leash will be, and when the change will be made if he struggles.
Fortunately for him, he gets the Lions in week one, which should bring a smile to his face. Across his four-year career, Trubisky has posted his best numbers against the Lions, which are even better in Detroit. He is looking to continue that trend once again. We have seen Trubisky play well and then turn around and play bad. Hopefully, he continues his strong play against the Lions to get the Bears to 1-0.
What will the running game look like?
Before last week, Chicago was looking to have a strong rushing attack with David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen leading the charge. Well, with Montgomery not 100 percent for at least this week, it changes the dynamic of things with Cohen leading the way in Detroit.
Cohen was given the starting running back job last season but lost that spot three weeks due to a lack of production. With a chance to start this week again, I'm curious to see what the rushing attack looks like moving forward. When Montgomery comes back, he may not be 100% right away, so look for Cohen to be ready to go. Cordarrelle Patterson will also be used in the rushing game as the Bears will hopefully find more success on the ground.
This is a statement game for Chicago
Not only is week one an excellent opportunity to leave an impression, but you're going against a divisional opponent. That means not only can you make a strong impression, but you have the chance to make a statement for the rest of the division.
Winning on the road is never an easy thing, no matter where you play. If the Bears can go into Ford Field and not only win but win handily, it could be a statement for the NFC North to take notice of. We know the Bears defense will be challenging and will make tons of plays, as has been the case over the past two seasons. Chicago's offense has yet to live up to the defensive expectations.
No one is expecting the offense to put up 27 plus points a game. However, if they can find a way to score 23-24 points, you're looking at a Super Bowl contending team because the defense will very rarely allow 20 points. The offense needs to come out firing, and they have a chance to make a statement.
Prediction: The Lions are a mystery to me considering the record they had last season. Sure, they went 3-12-1, but they were one of the most injured teams in the league last season and lost Matthew Stafford halfway through the season. Before that, Detroit came 28 seconds away from knocking off Kansas City and was a controversial call away from beating Green Bay on the road. That could have given Detroit a 4-0-1 start instead of 2-2-1.
When healthy, the Lions are a very talented offensive group who got even better by signing Adrian Peterson and drafting D'Andre Swift in the backfield. The problem has always been defense, and the Lions are hoping that changes this season. The Bears are the exact opposite of the Lions. Their defense continues to be strong, while their offense has yet to impress.
The Bears are a better team top to bottom, but the Lions have the better Quarterback and will be tough for anyone. Still, I like the Bears to win in this one 27-20 as the offense looks much improved, and the defense does enough to get the job done.