2014 NFL Week 16 - Bears vs. Lions Betting Odds Preview

Line: Lions -9

The 10-4 Lions travel to Chicago to take on the 5-9 Bears in a matchup with much more at stake for the Lions who are fighting for a playoff spot than for the Bears who are trying to stop a 3 game losing streak. These 2 teams met back in week 13 in Detroit with the Lions easily handling the Bears on their way to a 34-17 Victory. The Bears haven’t won since and the Lions haven’t lost since as these franchises are headed in vastly different directions. Last week the Lions beat the Vikings 16-14 with the defense leading the way by shutting out the Vikings in the second half. The Lions offense has been up and down all year but their defense has been in the Top 5 all year. The Bears are struggling mightily on both sides of the ball as their defense has allowed the opposing teams to average 35 points a game while their offense is only averaging 20 points during that stretch.

The Bears will be looking to avoid a 4th straight defeat which might be difficult against Detroit’s Top 5 defense. Jay Cutler has thrown just as many interceptions (6) as he did touchdowns (6) in the last 3 games and as has come nowhere close to justifying the 8 figure contract he signed at the beginning of the year. The Bears just announced that they are benching Jay Cutler in favor of Jimmy Clausen who has only completed 3 passes all year and won’t have All-Pro receiver Brandon Marshall who is out for the remainder of the year with an injury. Although this is a home game for the Bears they have dropped their last 2 games at home by 29 points. They may be forced to rely heavily on running back Matt Forte but the Lions defense was able to hold Forte to only 6 rushing yards when the teams met back in November.

The Lions offense seems to be back on track after hitting a rough patch in weeks 10-12 where they averaged only 11.5 points per game which resulted in 2 out of 3 losses. In weeks 13-15 the offense averaged 28 points per game which resulted in 3 wins. The Lions defense has been even better as they have forced 7 turnovers the past 3 games while allowing the opposing offenses to average only 16 points per contest during that stretch. They have been particularly good stopping the run as they have only given up a combined 115 rushing yards over the last 3 games which average to 38 yards per game.

The Lions are getting hot at the right time while the Bears keep finding new ways to hit rock bottom. The fact the Bears are choosing to bench Cutler for a quarterback who has thrown 9 passes since 2010 tells you how fragile the Bears franchise is right now. This game is extremely important for the Lions and the Bears last 3 games have all been double digit losses and there is no evidence that trend won’t continue

Pick: Lions -9

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