Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- WR Kalif Raymond picked up a “mild high-ankle sprain” in the Lions’ Week 10 win over the Chargers. He practiced in a limited fashion Wednesday.
- QB Justin Fields returned to practice as a full participant Wednesday and appears likely to start against the Lions.
- RBs Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman were both limited participants in Wednesday’s session; Herbert is currently in his 21-day practice window to be activated from injured reserve.
- Amon-Ra St. Brown has gone over 100 yards through the air in six of eight games and has 100 yards and/or a touchdown in every game this season.
How chicago Will Try To Win ::
The Bears have experienced a season of change through the first 10 weeks, failing to get anything going in a static offense over the first three weeks of the season, erupting for massive offensive performances in Week 4 and Week 5 against the Broncos and Commanders, respectively, and then adapting to a change at quarterback with the injury to Fields. That has given this team three separate identities through just over half of the season, and it remains pure conjecture to speculate on what that will look like with Fields expected back for a difficult matchup with their division rivals. That said, if we take the Bears at face value and examine the overall tendencies we’ve seen in those three different mini-eras, we’re left with the assumption that they’d like to base their offense on the ground game, with the potential for downfield passing with Fields back in the fold. In the two eruption games this season (Week 4 and Week 5), the Bears attempted 64 passes to 63 total rush attempts. That gives us a solid baseline expectation, one that involves modest pace and a run-balanced offensive design.
As was touched on above, there are continued uncertainties at play with this backfield. Herbert had his 21-day practice window opened but has yet to get in a full practice in his bid to return from injured reserve. Fill-in lead back Foreman also popped on the injury report Wednesday with a limited session, which makes sense considering his robust workload in recent weeks. We only have a one-game sample with all three of Herbert, Foreman, and rookie Roschon Johnson active together this season, which occurred way back in Week 1. The three shared duties in a near-even three-way split in that contest. Foreman and Herbert remain efficient backs capable of the gritty, between-the-tackles work in this offense while Johnson is best served for change of pace and obvious passing-down work. Either way, expect 28-32 combined rushing attempts between those three and Fields, which leaves little room for upside for any single member in that discussion unless either Herbert or Foreman miss, and even then, the matchup on the ground is about as difficult as the Bears will see this season. The Lions have held opposing backs to just 3.7 yards per carry and have yielded seven total rushing scores in nine games. Finally, Fields averages just under eight rush attempts per game this season (10.67 per game last year), which has to be considered in the equation of uncertainty as far as expected workload split amongst the ball carriers here.
Wide receiver DJ Moore and tight end Cole Kmet are the only remaining players to play near every-down roles in the pass game, with Darnell Mooney, Tyler Scott, and Equinameous St. Brown sharing the remaining work in an offense that utilizes 12-personnel at an above-average rate. That leaves very little room for upside to develop for any pass catcher not named Moore or Kmet. The Lions have run near league-average rates of man and zone coverage this season, a departure from recent history when they were one of the highest man-coverage units in the league. The stout nature of their defensive front has filtered additional volume to the air this season, leaving them ranked in the bottom half of the league in fantasy points allowed to both wide receivers and tight ends. Their linebacking group is one of the more athletically gifted units in the league, which has held opposing tight ends to modest yards-per-route-run numbers. Where teams have truly exploited the defensive tendencies of the Lions is in the red zone, with Detroit having allowed 15 combined touchdown passes to wide receivers and tight ends this season.