Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions, Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Sunday, December 5, 2010, 1:00 pm EST, TV: FOX
Opening Line: Bears -3.5
Current Line: Bears -3.5
Opening Total: 43.5
Current Total: 44
Money Line: Bears -190 / Lions +160
The Chicago Bears (8-3) have been outstanding this season when they have been motivated enough to prove doubters wrong, but winning games like this against the Detroit Lions (2-9) will ultimately decide whether or not they make the playoffs. The Bears (-3.5) are 5-1 straight-up and against the spread as underdogs this year and will look to prove that a controversial 19-14 win over the Lions in the season opener was no fluke when they meet again on Sunday.
Chicago is coming off a 31-26 statement victory last week against Philadelphia and beat Detroit in Week 1 when wide receiver Calvin Johnson’s apparent game-winning touchdown catch was nullified. The Bears have battled the stigma of being a “lucky” team ever since then and will be fortunate again here with the Lions being forced to start reserve quarterback Drew Stanton. It will be the second time in three weeks that they play a road game against a third-string QB making his first start of the season.
Detroit starting quarterback Shaun Hill broke the index finger on his throwing hand in a 45-24 home loss to New England on Thanksgiving and is not expected to play. Stanton went into the season as the third-stringer behind Hill and Matthew Stafford but was pressed into duty in Week 6 when Hill broke his arm. He completed 19 of 34 passes for 222 yards with one touchdown and one interception in a 28-20 road loss to the Giants, which is one of 10 games he has played in during his three-year NFL career.
The Lions are riding a four-game losing streak since winning two of three at home by double digits and took an early 14-3 lead on the Patriots, who outscored them 42-10 the rest of the way en route to the victory. Rookie running back Jahvid Best is still suffering from turf toes and did not practice earlier in the week, but he hopes to be on the field against Chicago. Best did not play against New England and was limited in a 35-19 loss at Dallas the week before. He scored two touchdowns against the Bears in the first meeting despite rushing for 20 yards on 14 carries in his pro debut.
Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler threw for a season-high 372 yards and two touchdowns against Detroit in the season opener, and he has eight touchdown passes and only one interception in winning the last three meetings by an average margin of more than 14 points. Cutler is coming off arguably his best game of the season against the Eagles with four touchdown passes and no interceptions.
While the Bears have thrived as underdogs this season, they are just 1-3-1 against the spread as favorites. The lone cover was a 27-13 win over Minnesota as 1-point favorites that improved the team’s divisional record to 3-0. This may be the last time they are favored the rest of the regular season with road games against the Vikings and Packers remaining along with home games against the AFC East co-leaders who are tied with Atlanta for the best record in the league at 9-2 in the Patriots and Jets. Another win here also would ensure that Chicago finishes the season with a winning record in the NFC North, which could be important down the road in determining the division championship.
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