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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 10 WAS at MIN (THU) DAL at NO JAC at TEN STL at IND
CIN at BAL HOU at ARI SEA at ATL MIA at TB (MON)
BUF at PIT DEN at SD OAK at NYG On Bye:
*UPDATED CAR at SF DET at CHI PHI at GB CLE, KC, NE, NYJ

Prediction: DET 27, CHI 26 (Line: DET by 3)

Players of Interest: Jay Cutler

Update: Jay Cutler returns this week from his groin tear that somehow magically has healed weeks in advance of initial expectations. He is added back into the projections and the Bears are adamant that he will not be rusty or limited.

The 5-3 Lions are tied with the Bears and Packers for the NFC North lead and this is a rematch of week four when the Bears lost in Detroit 32-40. The stakes are high but the Bears are more banged up this time than they were back in week four. Coin flip game.

1 MIN 34-24 10 @CHI -
2 @ARI 21-25 11 @PIT -
3 @WAS 27-20 12 TB -
4 CHI 40-32 13 GB -
5 @GB 9-22 14 @PHI -
6 @CLE 31-17 15 BAL -
7 CIN 24-27 16 NYG -
8 DAL 31-30 17 @MIN -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Stats | Roster
DET @ CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford 270,2
RB Joique Bell 20 4-30
RB Reggie Bush 90,1 5-40
WR Calvin Johnson 6-100,1
WR Golden Tate 4-80,1
TE Brandon Pettigrew 6-60
PK Matt Prater 3 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Lions come off their bye rested and ready to play in three big games in the next four weeks. The loss of Aaron Rodgers for the Packers could really slant the division between the Lions and Bears and this may be the first time in recent history that the Lions are more healthy than their opponents. The first meeting with the Bears was already the highest scoring week of the year for the Lions.

QUARTERBACKS: Matt Stafford had a slight lull for a few weeks but he's back with a vengeance. He scored every game so far and topped 350 yards in the last two home games. He just passed for 488 yards on the Cowboys. He's totaled 16 passing scores and two rushing touchdowns with only six interceptions. Stafford is an every-week fantasy play. Stafford passed for 242 yards and one score in the previous meeting with the Bears and ran in one score. It was his lowest production of the year but Lions won mostly by running the ball.

RUNNING BACKS: Reggie Bush comes off one of his best efforts with 122 total yards and one score on the Cowboys. Bush has been pretty solid with around 100 total yards or more each week and in week four he ran for a season best 139 yards and a score on 18 carries against the Bears. He added four catches for 34 yards as well. Bush has tended to run fewer times in road games but just makes up the difference as a receiver. Joique Bell also scored in the Cowboys game but remains good for around 40 or 50 yards in most games including the 42 he gained versus the Bears in week four.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Calvin Johnson certainly earned his bye week when he merely turned 14 catches into 329 yards and one touchdown - six yards short of Flipper Anderson's all-time record that was actually set in an overtime game. Johnson only managed four catches for 44 yards and one score in the previous Bears meeting but again that was more about rushing the ball. JOhnson has seven touchdowns on the year and four games over 100 yards. Kris Durham has settled into being the #2 but that typically only means about 50 yards per game. Nate Burleson remains out but could be back next week.

TIGHT ENDS: Brandon Pettigrew chugs along with minimal production and Joseph Fauria stopped catching touchdowns which left him with only one catch for 15 yards versus the Cowboys. Pettigrew actually had his best game of the year in the previous meeting with the Bears when he caught seven passes for 54 yards.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Bears always allow at least one passing score every week though never more than two. The yardage has been healthy and yet almost never big with Stafford's 242 yards and one score in the last meeting a decent average sort of game for the Bears, even when at home. Chicago is coming off a big win in Green Bay that could let them drop a bit in this one. Notable too is that Reggie Bush had his best game of the year in the last meeting. No reason to bench any of the notable players - Stafford, Johnson and Bush are must-starts every week and that doesn't change here.

WHAT TO WATCH: The Lions are on the road where they have struggled mightily in years past. A win here would be huge for the team and a loss will just make the division look like a mess the entire way to the end of the season.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 4 3 9 10 15 21
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 15 28 14 21 30 18

 

1 CIN 24-21 10 DET -
2 MIN 31-30 11 BAL -
3 @PIT 40-23 12 @STL -
4 @DET 32-40 13 @MIN -
5 NO 18-26 14 DAL -
6 NYG 27-21 15 @CLE -
7 @WAS 41-45 16 @PHI -
8 BYE WEEK 17 GB -
9 @GB 27-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 280,2
RB Matt Forte 90,1 5-40
WR Alshon Jeffery 6-70
WR Brandon Marshall 7-100,1
TE Martellus Bennett 6-70
PK Robbie Gould 4 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bears took the upset win in Green Bay and knocking Aaron Rodgers out almost immediately seemed to pay big dividends. The win puts the Bears back in the front seat for the division and they hope to get Jay Cutler back potentially by this week. Cutler's been out because of a torn groin and has undergone plasma enrichment therapy to speed up the process. That won't be determined until later in the week but at least the Bears are still very in the running for the post-season. Now if they can just body-slam Matt Stafford...

QUARTERBACKS: Until Jay Cutler is cleared, I will assume that Josh McCown plays. This is an obvious big game for the Bears and having Cutler there would be much preferred but potentially injuring him any further is not in the plans. McCown gave enough confidence last week that all is not lost if Cutler cannot play but make no mistake - Cutler is out there if at all possible. McCown passed for 272 yards and two scores on Monday night.

Cutler passed for 317 yards and two scores in Detroit but threw three interceptions.

RUNNING BACKS: Matt Forte is on a roll lately with three touchdowns in Washington and then one more on Monday in Green Bay. He ran for a season best 125 yards on 24 carries and added five catches for 54 yards. Switching to McCown did not hurt Forte's numbers and neither did knocking out Aaron Rodgers so that the Bears enjoyed an entirely different tenor to the game. Forte ran for 95 yards and one score in the previous meeting with the Lions and added five catches for 22 yards. The oddity with Forte is that his seven touchdowns included six that came on the road. He has not scored in Chicago since the season opener.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Alshon Jeffery recorded his first good game of the year when he posted five catches for 107 yards and a score in Detroit. He's since had two more 100 yard efforts and scored twice since then. Brandon Marshall only gained 79 yards on seven catches and did not score in the previous meeting with the Lions. That was one of his worst games of the year and he already scored six times on the year including just last week with McCown. Marshall's scored in every home game and usually has good to very good yardage in each. Earl Bennett is so marginalized that he never even had a pass thrown at him last Monday.

TIGHT ENDS: Martellus Bennett was the only normally productive player to see a big drop with McCown. He only caught four passes for 36 yards but his best game of the year was when he collected eight passes for 90 yards in Detroit. His outlook improves if Cutler can return.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This game revolves around Jay Cutler if he can return. McCown played certainly well enough against the Packers and it was on the road but that game changed dramatically once Rodgers was removed. McCown is certainly serviceable and better than most backups but his second game probably won't go as well. The Lions are about average against the pass and usually better against the run. Consider Jeffery, Marshall, Forte and Bennett all as reasonable starts this week and then feel much more confident if Cutler ends up playing.

WHAT TO WATCH: This game hinges on the ability of the Bears to pass against a defense that can be beaten but that will play tough and aggressive.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 13 11 7 16 11 3
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 17 16 28 11 31 4

WEEK 10 WAS at MIN (THU) DAL at NO JAC at TEN STL at IND
CIN at BAL HOU at ARI SEA at ATL MIA at TB (MON)
BUF at PIT DEN at SD OAK at NYG On Bye:
*UPDATED CAR at SF DET at CHI PHI at GB CLE, KC, NE, NYJ


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