The Detroit Lions are still alive for a playoff spot in the NFC, and they’ll continue to push hard for the finish. The Lions will try to keep hope alive on Saturday afternoon when they host the NFC North rival Chicago Bears, who have nothing to lose.
Detroit enters the week one game behind the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks in the race for the final NFC wild-card spot and kept themselves alive by pulling off a 24-21 win at Tampa Bay last week behind a solid performance from quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is dealing with an injury to his throwing hand. Stafford, who was questionable in the week leading up to Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay before throwing for 381 yards, increased his activity at practice this week and is expected to play again behind a patchwork offensive line. The Bears played spoiler last week, essentially knocking the Cincinnati Bengals out of the playoff discussion in the AFC with a 33-7 win, and have a chance to disrupt things in the NFC with games remaining against the Lions and first-place Minnesota. “This is a tough time of year,” Chicago coach John Fox told reporters after beating the Bengals. “You get to the fourth quarter of a game or a season, you gut it up with who you have, and our guys responded well.”
TV: 4:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network. LINE: Lions -5.5. O/U: 44
ABOUT THE BEARS (4-9): Rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky enjoyed the best game of his young career when he completed 25 of 32 passes for 271 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions last week, and his continued improvement is a positive for the team moving forward. “I just feel confident I‘m getting better each week,” Trubisky told reporters. “And, yes, it’s fun to play, but I get feedback from my teammates. I can tell that they’re confident in me, and that my play is just going to get better each week, and I know how to prepare. I just need to go out there and execute and just do it the way I‘m coached. For us to come out with a win, that’s the most important thing and the most important thing for me.” Trubisky is getting some help in the running game from Jordan Howard, who ran for 147 yards and a pair of TDs against the Bengals to go over 1,000 yards rushing on the season.
ABOUT THE LIONS (7-6): Stafford could use some help from his running game, and there is hope that top rusher Ameer Abdullah could return on Saturday after sitting out the last two games. “That’s the coach’s call. That’s the coach’s call,” Abdullah told reporters about his status for Saturday. “It’s never in my hands, and if the coaches feel like it’s in the best direction, then maybe they know something I don’t, you know? I’m always going to trust that. I’m always going to fall behind the lead of this team.” Abdullah and Stafford will both have to deal with injuries to protection as guard T.J. Lang (foot), center Travis Swanson (concussion) and tackle Rick Wagner (ankle) are all questionable.
1. The Lions signed DT Rodney Roe after he was waived by the Seattle Seahawks.
2. Bears TE Adam Shaheen (chest) and WR Kendall Wright (shoulder) were both limited in practice on Wednesday.
3. Detroit took eight of the last nine meetings, including four straight at home.
PREDICTION: Lions 24, Bears 17