Inside the Article:
Here we are, refusing to look back at what happened last weekend, only looking forward to the Week 17 Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears matchup. It's a matchup with enormous implications for the Lions and their own playoff chances. On the flip side, it's a matchup that has significant implications for the Bears and their draft pick. It's time to make some bold predictions for this all-too-important game.
5 Bold predictions for Week 17 Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears matchup
1 Jared Goff will lead the charge against a weak secondary
So, there was a lot of garbage time stat piling in the game against the Carolina Panthers, but that was on the road. Jared Goff at home is simply a better quarterback than he is on the road. Now, the secondary he's facing isn't the stiffest, either. They have only allowed 209 yards per game, and have only allowed 221 per game over the last three, but are graded as the 22nd best defense according to PFF, and have the 4th worst DVOA pass defense rating.
There should be ample opportunity for Goff to find open receivers and really take control of this game. The Lions will have a hard time running the ball, meaning this game will solely depend on Goff's right arm. If he can be really good, they'll win; if he struggles they'll lose. He'll play well enough and let's predict and 65% completion percentage, 300+ yards, and two scores.
2 The defense will rebound, but not completely
We've done the best we can to just keep looking forward and not about the Christmas Eve nightmare that occurred down south. The defense that got off the plane in Carolina was the same defense this town had seen in the first seven games of the season, not the previous seven. To put it simply, they put in their worst performance of the season, when they needed it most.
In that game, they allowed the Panther's running backs free reign to coast and glide wherever they wanted on the field. Chicago has the 12th-best run offense according to DVOA, no doubt helped by their ultra-athletic QB Justin Fields and a decent two-headed monster of David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert. Detroit is the 26th-best rush defense, which does not sit well for this game.
However, the Lions have something to play for and something to prove. They'll do all they can to shut down the rushing attack of the Bears, who will get theirs, it just won't be enough.
3 A breakout game for Jameson Williams
Much has been made about the usage (or lack thereof) of Jameson Williams since his return from his ACL injury. And, sure, in his first real action, he scored a touchdown and could've had two if Goff would've hit him in stride in the Meadowlands, but other than that he's done nothing. He has only been targeted one time in three of his four games, and in the fourth game, he was only targeted twice. This has led to questions about his usage for Dan Campbell and even a liked tweet or two.
It is no secret that JaMo is one of the fastest people on the field when he's on the field. However, it is a gross under-utilization if he is only running deep posts and taking the top off the defense. There's definitely a way to get him involved this week against Chicago in a way that he can affect the game in a more substantial way, and the genius Ben Johnson is crafty enough to utilize his most athletic player. Here's a bold prediction: JaMo gets his hands on the ball in a variety of ways and finds pay dirt at least once, leading to a breakout performance.
4 Jamaal Williams will break Barry's record this time
Okay, so I'm testing a theory. It's a dangerous game to play, I know, but I have to. Jamaal Williams is two touchdowns shy of Barry Sanders' single-season record. I said he'd get it last weekend, I jinxed him; apparently, I also jinxed the entire running game as well.
Well, it's playing with fire, but I'm going for it. Williams has not had a rushing touchdown in three weeks, and it's time he gets off the snide. This week he'll tie Barry for the record, recording two goalline scores, and then look to break it against his former club in Week 18.
5 Justin Fields will not finish the game
I know these are supposed to be bold predictions, and this one may not fit that bill. Justin Fields has been dealing with a shoulder injury, that threatened his ability to play this weekend. Fortune, however, did not shine on the Lions as the Bears plan to roll Fields out there, even with there being essentially nothing to play for.
Fields is uber-athletic, and a dynamic playmaker under center. On the season, he's amassed over 1,000 yards on the ground and is coming off one of his better passing games (82.0), according to PFF. But, that injury lingers and the Lions' defense is hungry. Even limited by injury, Fields is going to try to make plays, and he'll do so one time too many against the Lions and end up sidelined for the rest of the game.