Three Things Lions Must Do To Defeat Bears In Week 14

For the second time in less than a month, the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears will face off, this time from Soldier Field in Chicago. The Lions pulled off a miraculous fourth-quarter comeback in Week 11 to stun the Bears, sending Chicago home with a sour taste in their mouth. With the Bears out for revenge, here are three things the Lions must do if they want to maintain their NFC North lead.

Three Things Lions Must Do To Defeat Bears

Stop The Run

Chicago ran all over the Detroit defense in their Week 11 matchup, rushing for nearly 200 yards while getting contributions from multiple players. Quarterback Justin Fields led the way with 104 yards on 18 carries while running backs Khalil Hebert and Roschon Johnson combined for 65 yards on the ground. D’Onta Foreman, who signed with Chicago in the offseason, left with an injury early in the game and missed Chicago’s Week 12 contest. He’s been a full participant in Chicago’s last two practices and is tracking to return on Sunday, and he’ll be another player out of the Bears’ backfield that Detroit will need to contain.

Detroit’s strength on defense is their ability to stop the run. For as poorly as they’ve played on that side of the ball over the last month, they still rank fifth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (93.1). Taking away the run while forcing Fields to throw will give the Lions their best chance to come away with a victory on Sunday.

Limit DJ Moore

It’s no secret the weakness of the Lions’ defense is their inability to stop the pass; opposing teams are averaging just under 230 yards through the air against Detroit, which puts the Lions towards the bottom of the league in that category.

Against the Lions in their last matchup, Bears wide receiver DJ Moore broke loose for 96 yards on seven catches and also scored a touchdown on a 39-yard strike from Fields. Since coming over from the Carolina Panthers in the offseason, Moore has been Fields’ favorite target, hauling in 70 catches for over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns through his first 12 games as a Bear. Detroit must create a game plan to provide extra support for defensive back Jerry Jacobs, who’s struggled for most of the season in covering the opposing team’s No.1 receiver.

Win The Turnover Battle

In their previous matchup, Lions quarterback Jared Goff deviated from the quarterback he’s been for most of his tenure in Detroit, throwing for 236 yards and three interceptions. Ultimately, he turned things around in the final three minutes, throwing two touchdown passes to help the Lions narrowly escape in a game they had no business winning. A big reason why Detroit trailed for the majority of that contest was the turnovers; the Lions turned the ball over four times to the Bears’ two.

In the NFL, the team that turns the ball over less usually comes away with the win. The Lions were lucky in Week 11 to overcome a negative turnover differential, but if they want to sweep their season matchup with the Bears, they’ll have to take better care of the ball on Sunday. That means giving Goff more time to operate in the pocket — he was sacked twice in Week 11 while constantly being pressured, leading to poor throws that resulted in turnovers.

The Lions may be shorthanded once again on the offensive line as center Frank Ragnow has missed two consecutive practices with knee, back, and toe injuries. If he can’t go on Sunday, guard Graham Glasgow will slide over to center and rookie Colby Sorsdal will fill in at guard. It’ll be a challenge to run against a Chicago front seven that ranks first in the NFL in rushing defense, especially with a banged-up offensive line. Detroit may lean heavily on Goff, and he’ll need to be better than he was in the two teams’ previous matchup.

The Lions will have their hands full with a Chicago defense that has turned a corner in recent weeks and is rapidly improving. They’ll need to play a clean game to push their record to 10-3 while remaining in the hunt for the NFC’s No.1 seed.

Main Image: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK / USA TODAY NETWORK

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