After 1 1/2 seasons of flailing about and failing miserably, the Chicago Bears have started to play a much more competitive level of football. As they reach Week 14, the Bears have won 4 of their last 8 games.
Chicago is coming off a bye week, and head coach Matt Eberflus will have a chance to build a 2-game winning streak for the first time in his head coaching tenure. The Bears registered a 12-10 upset over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12, and they nearly beat the Detroit Lions in Week 11.
The Bears lead that game by a 26-14 margin late in the 4th quarter, but they let the upset slip through their grasp when the Lions caught fire and scored 17 points in the final 2:59. Justin Fields and his teammates played extremely well for 56 minutes, but that was not enough and the Lions came away with a 31-26 triumph.
The Chicago defense was sensational against the Vikings, intercepting Josh Dobbs 4 times. A late touchdown by the Vikings nearly allowed them to pull out a 4th quarter comeback, but Fields connected with wideout D.J. Moore on a key 36-yard connection late in the 4th quarter and that led to the winning field goal.
The Bears get a chance for revenge at home against the Lions, and the Chicago defense is playing well enough to give the team a fighting chance.
Justin Field will make 3 ‘wow' plays for the Bears, and he will both pass and run for touchdowns
Fields is a dynamic player who can create his share of highlight-film plays. The Bears have been waiting for 3 years to see Fields emerge as an elite player, and he has just a few weeks left before his employers draw a conclusion about his long-term future with the team.
When the Bears played the Lions in Week 11, it marked Fields' return to the lineup after missing 4 games due to a thumb injury. He had a fairly remarkable game, considering he had been out for more than a month and he was competing against the division's 1st-place team.
Fields completed 16 of 23 passes for 169 yards with a touchdown and he kept it clean on the interception side of the ledger. In addition to his solid day throwing the ball, Fields demonstrated his running ability once again. He carried the ball 18 times for 104 yards and demonstrated the speed and escapability of a game-changing running back.
Fields had a solid statistical game against the Vikings, completing 27 of 37 passes for 217 yards, and carrying the ball 12 times for 58 yards. However, he had a pair of 4th quarter lost fumbles that should have resulted in yet another loss for the Bears.
When the Vikings were unable to accept the gift, Fields made them pay by hitting a game-changing 36-yard pass to Moore that set up PK Cairo Santos with a game-winning field goal.
The combination of Fields and Moore is likely to cause most of the damage for the Bears in this game, and tight end Cole Kmet should also cause problems for the defensively porous Lions.
After getting off to a good start, the Lions have allowed 38, 26, 29 and 28 points the last 4 games. That defense may be quite vulnerable in its second meeting with the Bears.
Montez Sweat adds 2 sacks to he season-long total
The Bears acquired Sweat from the Commanders prior to the trade deadline and he has given the Bears a lift with his ability to rush the passer, play the run and his overall football knowledge. He has an excellent idea of how the opposition is going to try to attack, and he is regularly in the right position to shut plays down..
The Bears have become the most difficult team in the league to run against, and Sweat has played a key role. Since coming to Chicago, Sweat has 2.5 sacks and 6 quarterback hits in 4 games. In addition to those numbers, offenses must account for him on a regular basis, and that allows other Chicago defenders to make key contributions.
Linebackers T.J. Edwards and Tremaine Edmunds have been key contributors to the Bears improvement on defense. Edwards has been a tackling machine, recording 127 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 6 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovered.
Edmunds has 77 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 4 passes defensed, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovered.
The Bears have also gotten a solid contribution from hard-hitting safety Jaquan Brisker, who has 63 tackles, 4 passes defensed, 1 interception and 1 forced fumble.
The Bears have the wherewithal to slow down the Lions offense, but they must be prepared coming out of the gate. Detroit scored 3 first-quarter touchdowns in their Week 13 33-28 victory over the Saints. The Bears don't have the firepower to fall behind by multiple scores early and come back.
They need to dictate the pace and the defense must fight off any late Detroit rally if the Bears are going to win their second game in a row.