Detroit Lions (1-2) at Chicago Bears (0-3)
SERIES HISTORY: 172nd regular-season meeting. Bears lead series, 95-71-5. The Lions have won the last six and a victory would give them their longest winning streak in a series that began in 1930.
KEYS TO THE GAME: Ranked last in the NFL in time of possession, 30th in rushing and scoring, the Bears are asking a lot of a defense decked by injuries in the first three weeks of the season. The game plan against the Lions begins with finding a running game. Rookie Jordan Howard could start at running back with Jeremy Langford (ankle) hobbled. That change will limit how aggressive offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains can be regardless of whether Jay Cutler (thumb) can play; Brian Hoyer was efficient at Dallas last week, and made second-year WR Kevin White look like a downfield threat for the first time in his career.
The Lions are having as much difficulty running the ball as the Bears. The Bears' defensive front was exposed last week trying to blitz to make up for using backups in key roles. Giving up 199 rushing yards last week made it clear there are defenders out of their gaps. Detroit's new pitch-catch pairing of Matthew Stafford - who had 703 yards and seven touchdowns in two wins over Chicago last season -- and Marvin Jones has been lethal, and Bears CB Jacoby Glenn has been toasted on deep throws.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Lions WR Marvin Jones vs. Bears CB Tracy Porter. Jones leads the NFL in receiving three weeks into the season, but as the Lions' only deep threat he may face more defensive attention going forward. Porter has been the Bears' best cornerback the last two years, but he was a favorite target of Stafford last year (when he was covering Calvin Johnson). Expect the Lions to look his way often on Sunday.
--Lions DE Kerry Hyder vs. Bears LT Charles Leno. With DE Ziggy Ansah expected to miss Sunday's game with a high ankle sprain, Hyder should make his second straight start at defensive end. Hyder, who spent most of last year on the practice squad, has been a revelation with four sacks in three games, but the Lions need to generate more pressure than they did last week. The Bears have a solid interior line, so much of that duty will fall on Hyder and Devin Taylor.
INJURY REPORT: LIONS -- Out: DE Ezekiel Ansah (ankle), LB DeAndre Levy (quadricep). Questionable: CB Adairius Barnes (ankle), TE Eric Ebron (ankle), DE Wallace Gilberry (abdomen), WR Marvin Jones (hamstring), T Riley Reiff (ankle), DE Devin Taylor (ankle), LB Antwione Williams (hamstring), S Tavon Wilson (neck). BEARS -- Doubtful: RB Ka'Deem Carey (hamstring), QB Jay Cutler (right thumb), DT Eddie Goldman (ankle), RB Jeremy Langford (ankle), LB Danny Trevathan (thumb). Questionable: DE Jonathan Bullard (toe), WR Alshon Jeffery (hamstring), S Harold Jones-Quartey (concussion), CB Sherrick McManis (hamstring), CB Tracy Porter (knee), G Josh Sitton (shoulder), LB Willie Young (knee)
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Lions S Rafael Bush. Tavon Wilson beat Bush out for the starting strong safety job this summer, but Wilson didn't finish last week's loss to the Green Bay Packers because of a neck injury. Wilson practiced on a limited basis Wednesday, but his status is uncertain. Bush will see plenty of playing time both at safety and in the Lions' nickel package. The Lions were burned by big plays and in zone coverage last week, and Bush's experience could come in handy against top Bears playmaker Alshon Jeffery.
FAST FACTS: The Bears have 12 players on injured reserve. ... The Lions have six consecutive wins over the Bears. ... Detroit QB Matthew Stafford passed for 385 yards and three TDs in Week 3. He threw has thrown for 703 yards and seven TDs in the past two vs. Chicago. ... Detroit RB Theo Riddick ranks second on team with 16 receptions. Since 2015, he has 96 receptions and 827 yards, most among NFL RBs. ... Chicago WR Alshon Jeffery aims to score vs. Detroit for the fourth straight game. He averages 97.8 yards per game in six career meetings and has scored five times.
PREDICTION: Matthew Stafford has found a go-to guy and the Lions are deep enough to spread out the Bears, who rank 10th in the NFL in pass defense but on the legs of facing three first-year starters in three games. The Bears should have a chance to win it, but Detroit is capable of matching every score.
OUR PICK: Lions, 27-21.