Detroit Lions vs. Bears. Key Matchups in Week 10. After a nice home win, the Detroit Lions travel to Chicago to face off against their division rival Bears. After a slow start to the year, the Bears have looked much better offensively with the resurgence of QB Justin Fields. Fields struggled at the beginning of the year with decisiveness, and his weak offensive line and WR corps did not help.
Lately, he has used his athleticism much more to his advantage, which has paid dividends. Defensively, they have done the opposite. They looked good, only giving up 12 and 14 points to the Commanders and Patriots. Lately, they have stunk, surrendering 49 and 35 points to the Cowboys and Dolphins. Here are the matchups the Lions need to win to get the win.
Detroit Lions contain vs. Justin Fields
This matchup is terrifying for the Lions as the Bears’ biggest strength is going against the Lions’ biggest weakness. For the Bears, Justin Fields’s running ability is a major weapon with his tremendous speed. Last week, he broke the NFL QB record as he rushed for 178 yards.
On the other hand, the Lions have not done a good job containing mobile QBs. Last week, Aaron Rodgers picked up a couple of big third downs with his legs, and earlier in the year, Jalen Hurts did the same and picked up 90 yards on the ground.
If Fields can repeat last week’s performance, it will be a long day for the Lions’ defense, so stopping him will need to be at the top of the game plan. Previously, LBs coach Kelvin Sheppard has said he is against using QB spies, so it will be interesting to see if they utilize one against Fields.
Even if they do, linebackers Malcolm Rodriguez, Alex Anzalone, and Derrick Barnes will have their hands full with Fields’s speed. The Detroit Lions defensive line must be incredibly disciplined if they don’t use a spy. Aidan Hutchinson and others have struggled with gap integrity in the past, so it needs to be a point of emphasis for the week. Fields can torch the Lions’ defense if they aren’t disciplined or if the spies can’t keep up.
Jerry Jacobs vs. Chase Claypool
The Bears made a big splash at the trade deadline by acquiring Chase Claypool for a 2nd round pick. In his first game, Claypool only grabbed 2 of the six targets for a measly 13 yards. He also added a rush for 4 yards, but hardly the debut he imagined. However, despite the limited production, the Bears clearly wanted to get him involved. They threw him multiple screen passes and deep passes and gave him an end-round.
This week, they will try to get involved again, and now, he has an extra week to gain rapport with Fields. Most likely, Jerry Jacobs will be the one lining up across from Claypool. Coming off an injury, Jacobs looked great last week, giving up 0 receptions and tackling well. He will need a good game again to limit the Bears’ offense.
With Claypool, the Bears tried to get him the ball in space for good reason. He is big-bodied with good speed, so he can be a chore to bring down. He will challenge the tackling ability of the Lions’ secondary. If they can bring him down, they can prevent some easy yards and prevent Fields from getting easy confidence.
They must stop the short passes, but Jacobs cannot get too aggressive. Claypool has plenty of speed to go over the top for a big play if he does. If Jacobs can play that fine line, he can eliminate one side of the field and take away a big target for the Bears.
Detroit Lions offensive line vs. the Bears’ defensive line
This matchup leans heavily toward the Lions. The Detroit Lions boast one of the best lines in the NFL with All-Pro Frank Ragnow and budding star Peneii Sewell. On the other side of the ball, the Chicago Bears regressed after losing many stars. Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn, and Akiem Hicks have all left, leaving a huge hole in the front 4.
Their new front 4 lacks the disruptive force of the previous Chicago Bears’ defenses. The result has been huge regression against both the pass and run. They are in the league’s bottom half for yards per carry and for sacks.
The Lions have a big opportunity to get their offense back on track against the Bears. The Lions should be able to dominate the front and open up huge holes for Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift. The offensive line can control this game.
If the Lions’ Offensive line can control the game, they will make the day for Jared Goff easy and keep Justin Fields off the field. With Fields’ success and Goff’s struggles, it is necessary to support their quarterback while keeping the other off the field. It will open up play action if they can and hopefully allow Goff to look competent. When he has, the Lions’ offense has been able to put up big numbers.