Saturday, October 8, 2011

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Chicago Bears vs Detroit Lions: DET -6
It's pretty amazing that I can sit here and say that Detroit should be favored by more than a touchdown against Chicago, but that's the reality of it this year. Each week I've continued to say that the books are undervaluing Detroit even in the face of all the hype from the media and the public.  Amazing!  As a result they are 3-0-1 against the spread this year.  I understand DET have started slow for two weeks in a row now, but I'm not worried about this when they are hosting their first prime-time Monday Night Football game in forever.

If you read my power rankings this week you'll know what I think of CHI.  In a word--overrated.  It truly blows my mind that this team finds ways to win given how bad their offense is.  Matt Forte is running for a contract and Mike Martz finally took some pressure off Cutler last week, but the DET defense is better than CAR. The O-line is still terrible (seems to get shuffled around every week) and now they face off against one of the best D-lines in all of football. Dominating the line of scrimmage is a huge factor in wins and losses so CHI will be fighting an uphill battle all night long.  CHI already enter this game with horrible percentages in the red zone, third down, ball control, and points from long drives. DET rank near the top in all of those categories on defense!  If CHI get down in this game and become a one-dimensional passing team--it's lights out.  Hester can return two kicks for touchdowns and it still might not matter.

On offense, DET are shining bright in 3 key areas--red zone, passing, and offensive line.  When you watch their games the offensive line doesn't come across as brilliant, but they give Stafford enough time to find the deep patterns more times than not.  CHI have been way below average getting to the quarterback this year and they've given up a ton of yards in the air.  With all the emphasis on the passing game in 2011--that's a bad combination to have.  I expect Calvin Johnson to have another huge game, but even if he gets shut down for whatever reason guys like Burleson, Young, and Pettigrew can step up.  Even look for Best out of the backfield on some swing routes and check downs.  This is a very difficult offense to defend and it's mostly a case of pick your poison. 

DET is 4-0 for the first time since 1980 and they're on their way to 5-0 with a win over CHI.  They should win this game by double-digits as they avenge what should have been a win in CHI last year.  Prediction: Bank DET -6.