Football Picks: Bears Vs Lions Betting Preview

The Bears are 6.5 point home favorites today over the Lions
This will be the first true test of the new Mike Martz offense for the Chicago Bears as they host the Detroit Lions in the regular-season opener between two NFC North foes.  Chicago’s offense was not broken against Detroit last season, scoring a combined 85 points in sweeping two meetings.  But a revamped Lions defense could pose some problems for the Bears (-6.5 on the NFL betting odds), especially after they scored only 46 points in four preseason games with Martz’s new scheme.

Chicago has won the last four meetings with Detroit and eight of the last 10 thanks to an explosive offense.  The Bears averaged nearly 33 points per game in those eight wins, and quarterback Jay Cutler did anything but struggle against the Lions last season.  Cutler threw for 417 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions in two games vs. Detroit and should flourish in Martz’s new offensive system despite the poor offensive output in the preseason.

Meanwhile, the Lions have a reason to be excited for the first time in recent memory thanks to an outstanding draft class sans Matt Millen.  Detroit picked All-American defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and running back Jahvid Best in the first round of April’s draft and also made some nice moves in free agency, signing sure-handed wide receiver Nate Burleson, tight end Tony Scheffler, guard Rob Sims and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch.

The key to Detroit’s hopes offensively though will fall on second-year quarterback Matthew Stafford, who progressed nicely over the course of his rookie season but was still sacked 24 times.  That could be a major problem against a Bears defense that appears hungry with the addition of former All-Pro defensive end Julius Peppers via free agency.  Peppers is expected to help Chicago put more pressure on opposing QBs and could be a factor right away here.

The biggest challenge for the Bears will be protecting Cutler and giving him enough time to throw the ball.  Chicago’s rebuilt offensive line surrendered an NFL-high 19 sacks during the preseason, which is the main reason the team scored on just three of 16 possessions with Cutler in the game.  Cutler has stated publicly that the Bears offense will click as early as the first quarter, and fans should be very worried if it does not generate instant offense right away, especially considering how easy it was for them to score against the Lions last season.

With both passing games taking center stage because of the big-name quarterbacks, the running games might just make the difference.  Chicago running back Matt Forte will be complemented by Chester Taylor after he was signed away from Minnesota, which should give the team a solid 1-2 punch to help balance out the offense.  Detroit is counting on Best to be a difference-maker because former third-round draft pick Kevin Smith has been a disappointment due to injuries.

Maddux Sports has released football picks for this Sunday and this game happens to be one of the games we like.  See who is going to cover this and other games on our NFL football picks page.

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