Well, here we go folks… The 2020 season promises to be a roller-coaster ride we’ve never experienced before – or it won’t, time will tell. Week 1 of the 2020 season sees the Chicago Bears and their much-maligned quarterback Mitchell Trubisky coming to town. There are more questions than answers for both of these teams going into the season but one thing is certain, this match-up generally provides some entertaining football.
Going up against the Bears is always a daunting task, even in years where they may not be great, divisional games are always tough. On paper, the Bears should have a solid defense – one that is capable of stopping both facets of any offense’s game. An intriguing individual match-up is between Kenny Golladay and Kyle Fuller; whether he shadows Golladay or not remains to be seen, but he did shadow receivers at times last season, so it shouldn’t be discounted. Regardless, Chicago was a top 10 defense in terms of limiting production to WRs last season, so it may be an uphill battle in the passing game. Unfortunately, they were also top 10 at limiting production to running backs as well (which is fine for week 1 since we have no clue what to expect out of the running backs – though I personally expect Peterson to lead the team in carries). This is in addition to being 4th in the league for points allowed last season.
We can only hope that the Lions offense continues to evolve into the multi-faceted attack that Bevell and Patricia want. In doing so, they may be able to keep the talented and aggressive Bears defense on their heels.
The Lions defense is a bit rough. There are plenty of new faces, so there is a level of uncertainty and the unknown is also cause for hope. The reality is, with David Montgomery banged up, the game plan should be to shut down the run and force Trubisky to beat them through the air. Now, he has the ability to do it, we’ve all seen it (evidenced by his 74% completion, a passer rating of 132.6 and 9:1 TD-to-INT ratio over his last 3 games against Detroit); however, the training camp reports are that despite winning the starting gig he has continued to struggle with accuracy. The revamped secondary spearheaded by free agent signing Desmond Trufant needs to capitalize on that to force a turnover (or multiple turnovers, which is better). This is truly a key to this game, should the Lions have a chance at winning.
Despite my personal belief the defense will be the weak link all season, this is a game where they may be able to contribute to a win. Keep Trubisky contained on the ground (all Chicago runners, really) and force the game to the air; good things could happen.
The Lions still have their ace in hole here with Jamal Agnew. He is a big play waiting to happen. Additionally, they have the advantage at kicker with Prater and should the game come down to who’s better at putting it through the uprights? The Lions wouldn’t lose often but hold a decided advantage here with Eddy Piñero going on IR just a few days ago, and Cairo Santos being brought in off the street.
The downside here? Matt Nagy is a significantly better coach than Matt Patricia. He is 4-0 against the Lions since taking over at the head coach of the Bears and they’ve been pretty decisive victories.
That all said, the Bears have dropped six straight season opener, but it won’t get to seven. I believe it will be a close(ish) game and a typical NFC North divisional battle, but I’m not buying that the Lions defense has the chops to stop anyone with any consistency.
Bears come into Motown and win 24-17.