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Last-minute bold predictions on Lions vs. Bears in Week 10

The Week 10 matchup between the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears kicks off in a few hours. We’ll soon learn if Dan Campbell can finally win a road game and the Lions can escape the NFC North basement for the first time in his coaching tenure in the process.

Here are few things rattling around my mind as the game approaches, as well as a final prediction that is different than what I plotted out during the week.

Amon-Ra St. Brown is due for a huge game

St. Brown hasn’t had a monster game in a few weeks. He’s had 11 receptions for 124 yards in the last two games as the only regular starting wide receiver healthy enough to play.

That changes on Sunday. Chicago’s pass defense is suspect, occasionally solid but vulnerable to receivers who can work across layers and zone responsibilities. That’s the “Sun God” in a nutshell. He matches the aforementioned production of the last two games this afternoon in Chicago.

 

Justin Fields to Cole Kmet is going to be a real problem

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The Chicago Bears wide receivers beyond Darnell Mooney don’t worry me too much from a Lions perspective. Tight end Cole Kmet is a different story.

Kmet posts modest numbers, but he’s seen an uptick in importance as Fields has grown as a passer. Against Detroit, Kmet is the Bears player most likely to exploit the defensive attention focused on stopping Fields as a runner. He’s a dangerous enough weapon that the linebackers cannot ignore him. If they do, Fields will make them pay.

I see that happening at least three times for big gains in this game, once for a touchdown.

Special teams can make a huge difference

David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Last week the Bears gave up a blocked punt for a touchdown to Miami. The natural inclination is to overcorrect and prevent another blocking gaffe. That presents an opportunity for the Lions’ return units.

Detroit’s special teams have generally performed pretty well outside of the early-season placekicking roulette. The Lions will prevail in the special teams battles in Chicago and it helps give the team a decide field position advantage over the course of the game.

 

Final prediction

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During the week, I predicted the Bears to win 27-24. I wrote that on Tuesday night. My mind has changed in the ensuing days.

I see more points for both teams. I see the game boiling down to which defense can make a big play down the stretch, which also means which QB can avoid making the critical mistake.

For all of Justin Fields’ very real and tangible improvement, he still takes way too many sacks to trust. An Aidan Hutchinson strip-sack will invigorate the Lions. But a costly Jared Goff interception on a play where he had another target wide open for paydirt will loom larger.

Bears 36, Lions 34

Here’s hoping my crystal ball is cracked and wrong on this one…

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire