Detroit Lions vs Chicago Bears: Inside the numbers for Week 17 predicts an exciting shootout

After a crushing loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Detroit Lions look to rebound against the lowly Chicago Bears. While the Lions are still in the playoff hunt, the Bears have already started looking forward to the draft. The Bears are in the middle of an eight-game losing streak after the Buffalo Bills stomped them on Christmas Eve. Let's go inside the numbers to see if they match the records.

Detroit's offense vs Chicago's defense

Detroit Lions' pass offense vs Chicago Bears' pass defense

By yardage, the Bears have one of the best pass defenses in the NFL. They only give up 209 yards per game, good for 12th, and just held Josh Allen to only 172 yards last week. However, those numbers are misleading. Despite the low yardage, the Bears give up the third-most yards per attempt. This shows that teams don't need to throw often as they are typically leading, but they have been successful when they do.

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The Bears also don't get to the passer at a high rate. After losing stars like Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn, and Akiem Hicks, the Bears' pass rush has been toothless ranking dead last in sacks with only 1.2 a game. These stats cause their pass defense to rank 29th in DVOA. That seems appropriate given the opponents' efficiency against the Bears and their inability to get to the passer.

On the other hand, the Lions' pass offense continues to hum along. Even in the loss, Jared Goff threw for 355 yards, three touchdowns, and once again no interceptions. This makes it seven-straight games without an interception despite averaging 35 attempts per game (11th).

Their strong streak has raised their passing DVOA to 7th overall while being ranked top-8 in yards and yards per attempt. To cap it off, only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have given up fewer sacks than the Lions. All stats seem to favor the Lions in this matchup.

Detroit Lions vs Chicago Bears: Advantage Lions' pass offense

Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions run offense vs Chicago Bears' run defense

Also, teams have not had to pass much against the Bears because their run defense has also struggled. The Bears give up 151 yards a game which is the third-worst in the league. These numbers aren't even inflated by teams running with the lead. The Bears rank 27th, giving up nearly five yards a carry. Their run defense is just bad, evidenced by giving up 200+ yards three times this year.

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All that said, the Lions' rush attack has not been much better of late. After an amazing start, the rushing attack has been going downhill and hit rock bottom with a 45-yard performance last week. They rank middle of the pack on the season, but over their last three, they rank bottom 10 in yards and yards per carry. The Bears' rush defense is bad, but it is impossible to have any faith in the Lions' rush attack.

Detroit Lions vs Chicago Bears: Draw

Detroit's Defense vs Chicago's Offense

Detroit Lions' pass defense vs Chicago Bears' pass offense

Justin Fields has emerged as the QB of the future, but the passing numbers have not been very good for the Bears. DVOA's 27th-ranked passing attack, the Bears only muster 136 yards per game by far the least in the league. Fields struggled with accuracy at a completion percentage of 61.70% (26th). But when he does connect, they are explosive. Despite their struggles, the Bears rank 12th in yards per attempt.

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Fields is not the main problem with the passing attack. The receiving corps is lackluster at best. Equanimeous St. Brown is nowhere close to his brother, and Darnell Mooney is not a number one receiver. On top of that, their offensive line is run-blocking focused. As pass protectors, they give up the 4th most sacks in the league.

The Lions' pass defense is one of the worst in the league. They rank last in yards per attempt and give up the 3rd most passing yards. The secondary has been a major weakness that opponents have been able to expose.

On the bright side, the pass rush has been improving. Rookies, Aidan Hutchinson and James Houston have led a revamped pass rush that has been able to hide deficiencies on the back end of the defense. This matchup will also be close, but if the Lions' defense line can win, they should be able to stop the passing attack.

Detroit Lions vs Chicago Bears: Draw

Detroit Lions' run defense vs Chicago Bears' run offense

Running the ball is where the Bears truly shine. With the threat of Fields, the Bears lead the league in rushing yards by a decent amount. They do lead the league in rush attempts, but they are also efficient in picking up 5.2 yards a carry. Fields is the real star of the rushing attack, but David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert are solid options as well.

After last week, it is hard to have any confidence in the Lions' rush defense. The Lions gave up a whopping 320 yards on over seven yards per carry while getting dominated all game. It was especially disappointing as the Lions have looked much improved against the run in the second half of the season.

In the three games before that, they gave up 95, 22, and 50 rushing yards. If last week's defense shows up again, Fields & Co. will put up huge days and control the game. If the other defense shows up, the Bears will still put up good numbers, but it will still give the team a chance.

Detroit Lions vs Chicago Bears: Advantage Bears' run offense

Game Outlook

On paper, this game looks like it will be another high-scoring affair. Both defenses are among the worst in the league and will struggle against the explosive offenses – the Lions' passing and Bears' rushing. If last week was an anomaly and the Lions remember how to tackle, they should be able to limit the damage enough to pull off the needed victory. If they can do that and get some help, it could set up a very exciting season finale.

Team rankings from Team

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