The Detroit Lions (2-3) head to Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears (4-1) in an NFC North matchup for the week 7 finale.
The Lions come in after last week’s hard fought win over the Eagles and are looking to get to .500 and back into the NFC North race. QB Matt Stafford is 24th in the league with a rating of 79.2 but is leading the league’s 2nd ranked pass offense, which is putting up 319.8 yards per game. Stafford has been sacked 9 times and the Chicago defense will be looking to get after him -- but that aggressiveness should open some big-play opportunities to his receivers.
WR Calvin Johnson leads the league with 111.6 yards receiving a game, although he only has one touchdown so far this season. TE Tony Scheffler emerged last week as a credible receiving threat putting up 81 yards on three receptions which could open up the field more for Stafford and put Johnson in favorable man coverage situations.
The Lions will need to get some kind of run game going to try and keep the pressure off Stafford as well. RB Mikel LeShoure who is coming off last season’s Achilles injury and a suspension earlier this year has begun to put up some yards and is averaging 65.3 yards rushing per game. Detroit’s rush defense has been quietly solid and is ranked 10th allowing 96.4 yards per game, but will have to step up to slow down Chicago’s rush attack which is averaging 123.6 yards oper game on the ground.
Chicago is coming off its bye week with a one game lead over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North. While the offense has been efficient, ranked 21st in passing and 9th in rushing with 222.6 yards and 123.6 yards per game, respectively, the team is 3rd in scoring averaging 29.8 points per game benefiting from a league leading 5 defensive scores.
QB Jay Cutler is averaging 242 yards passing per game and the RB tandem of Matt Forte and Michael Bush has supported a balanced offensive attack which will be important to help keep Cutler, who has been sacked 14 times, from the Lions pass rush, let by DT Ndamukong Suh. Defensively, the Bears are one of the best in the league allowing a league fewest 14.2 points per game and are fourth overall surrendering only 291.2 offensive yards to their opponents. Look for DE Julius Peppers to come on strong tonight after having the bye week to further recover from a nagging foot injury.
FOX Business has evaluated the win/loss and stock market statistics over the past 20 seasons of Monday night NFL games and come up with a Monday Night Markets (MNM) score for each team based on their record and the prior week’s market activity. Let’s take a look at what the markets have to say.
The Dow Industrials clawed out a small 0.11% gain last week and the S&P 500 was up as well closing out the week with a 0.32% gain, with both indexes now up for two of the past three weeks. Early market gains from positive earnings reports and stronger than expected data on Chinese trade and US retail sales was offset by a higher than expected rise in initial jobless claims as well as a disappointing earnings which fueled a selloff on the 25th anniversary of Black Monday.
Over the past 20 years, the Bears have played 27 Monday night games and based on our calculations have a Monday night rank of .538 when the Dow closes the prior week up and .385 when the S&P 500 is up, giving them a MNM rank for this week of .462.
During the same 20-year period, the Lions have played 10 Monday night games and have a rank of .500 when the Dow is up and .333 when the S&P 500 is up, giving them an MNM rank this week of .417.
Monday Night Markets picks the Chicago Bears at home over the Detroit Lions.
Week 7 FBN Staff Picks:
Lions @ Bears
Connell McShane (4-3)
Bears at home.
Sandra Smith (4-3)
Robert Gray (5-2)
Bears at home.