Week five closes out with an NFC North divisional matchup as the Chicago Bears (2-2) head to Ford Field to take on the undefeated Detroit Lions (4-0).
The Bears are going to have to protect QB Jay Cutler better. He has been sacked a league leading 15 times this season behind a line that could charitably be said to be in flux. Guard Chris Spencer is playing with a fractured hand but versatile Lance Louis’ is healthy and could start at either left or right guard. If they can’t stop the rush, Cutler will find himself on the run from Ndamukong Suh all night.
Another way to keep Cutler on his feet will be a big push from the running game. RB Matt Forte had an outstanding game against the Panthers, putting up 205 yards on the ground. Getting to the run early this week against the Lion’s 20th ranked rush defense should help keep Cutler upright and open up some play action pass opportunities.
Defensively, keep an eye on DE Julius Peppers against the Detroit line. It was Peppers who knocked Detroit QB Matthew Stafford out of the game last year. The expected return of Chris Harris from a hamstring pull will help settle down the Bears’ revolving door at Safety. The X-factor for this game may come down to field position as the Bears have an outstanding return game led by Devin Hester.
The Lions come into their first Monday night game in a decade undefeated at 4-0 for the first time since 1980. WR Calvin Johnson has caught two touchdown passes in each game thus far, putting him on pace to break Randy Moss’ record of 23 touchdown catches in a single season. QB Matt Stafford has been impressive throwing for 11 touchdowns to only three interceptions and is fifth in the league with a QB rating of 100.3. RB Jahvid Best has been healthy and while his numbers have been fairly pedestrian at 190 yards on 60 carries, Chicago’s defense is giving up 124.2 yards per game which is 25th in the league. Anchored by DT Ndamukong Sug and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, the Lion’s defensive line will threaten from multiple positions posing coverage problems for the Bears. Adding to this, DT Nick Fairley is expected to make his debut bringing even more speed to the defensive line.
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 major indexes had solid gains with the Dow Industrials closing out the week up 1.74%, up for the second straight week and three of the last four. The S&P 500 was also up, posting a gain of 2.12% and snapping a two-week losing streak. The markets were buoyed by optimism on new European liquidity measures and better than expected jobless claims and private sector job growth reports, and with no additional negative news in the European debt front, stocks were able to hold on to their gains.
Over the past 20 years, the Bears have played 27 Monday night games and based on our calculations have a Monday night rank of .400 when the Dow closes the prior week up and .500 when the S&P 500 is up giving them a MNM rank for this week of .450.
During the same 20-year period, the Lions have played nine Monday night games and have a rank of .286 when the Dow is up and .333 when the S&P 500 is up giving them an MNM rank this week of .310.
Monday Night Markets picks the Bears on the road over the Lions.
FBN STAFF PICKS - WEEK 5
Sandra Smith (4-1)
Bears will surprise !!! Go Bears!!
Chris Cotter (4-1)
It would be so easy to pick the Lions this week. And... well... I like taking the easy route. Megatron and the Lions win.
Robert Gray (3-1)
Detroit may be the comeback story of the year for 2011. Auto sales are on the mend, the Tigers are in the ALCS, and the Lions are on their way to 5-0! Stafford and Calvin will light it up under the lights and now they have a stout defense to shut down da Bears
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