The 2-6 Detroit Lions — fresh off a victory against their chief rivals, the Green Bay Packers — travel to Soldier Field to take on Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears this week.
The victory last Sunday over the Packers was a welcome relief to Lions faithful, and a quick peek at the schedule for the rest of the season shows a path to respectability.
This week, a beatable Bears team. Next week, a Giants team many believe to be over-performing. After that, a home tilt against the Super Bowl favorite Bills, but then come legitimately winnable games against the also possibly overachieving Vikings, the Jaguars, Jets, and Panthers, before closing out the season against the Bears and Packers.
Perhaps – perhaps! – when it’s all said and done, the Lions close out the year with a 7-10 or so record and leave fans with a good memory heading into next season.
But first things first: a battle against the Bears and quite possibly the best quarterback the team has ever had.
No joke: Justin Fields has been playing awesome football for the last five weeks, and the bar for “best Bears quarterback ever” is about as low as a fallen branch. Seriously, Erik Kramer holds the Bears’ record for most passing yards at 3,838 and touchdowns — 29 — in a season. No 4,000-yard or 30-touchdown passers. Ever.
There have been 209 4,000-yard passing seasons in NFL history, and who knows how many 30-touchdown passers. But the last time an NFL quarterback led the league with 29 touchdown passes was in 1966, when Frank Ryan did it with the Cleveland Browns.
The books, however, expect some fireworks from these two squads. The over/under is set at 48.5, with PointsBet offering the best odds on either side at -107.
The rushing yards props for the quarterbacks are genuinely hilarious: Jared Goff, 3.5 yards, with the over at -108 at Caesars Sportsbook, and Justin Fields, 58.5 yards, with the over at -117 at Barstool. The passing yardage prop difference between the two is equally stark, with Fields at 176.5 at -115 at DraftKings and Goff at 235.5 at -115, also at DraftKings.
Yeah, you might say this is a battle between two very different offenses.
Amon-Ra St. Brown hasn’t been Cooper Kupp-like recently, but he’s still looking at a 6.5 over/under on his reception prop, with the over at an attractive +104 at Caesars.
Perhaps one of the better bets on the board is a Jamaal Williams anytime touchdown, which can be had for +123 on Caesars. He’s hit paydirt eight times already this year, DeAndre Swift is clearly still banged up, the Bears’ rushing defense is 28th in DVOA, and they recently traded away Roquan Smith. So if the Lions are scoring, Williams figures to be in on the action.
Photo: Lon Horwedel/USA TODAY