Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (3, 44.5)
The Chicago Bears need a win and some help in the final week of the regular season to lock up a playoff spot. The Detroit Lions are only playing for one thing - history for Calvin Johnson. The Bears are hoping to keep Johnson in check when they visit the Lions on Sunday. Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s single-season record for receiving yards last week and is aiming to become the first player in history to reach 2,000.
The Bears kept their playoff hopes alive with a win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 16 and are hoping their banged-up roster can pull out one more in the final week. Chicago will also need the Green Bay Packers to beat the Minnesota Vikings (9-6). Detroit, which made the playoffs last season, has lost seven games in a row to crush any hope of a return trip. Johnson has been the only thing keeping spirits up with his record 1,892 yards.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX.
LINE: Bears -3, O/U 44.5
ABOUT THE BEARS (9-6): Chicago is hoping running back Matt Forte (ankle) will be ready for the Lions. He sat out practice Wednesday and was limited Thursday. Forte was knocked out of Sunday’s win over Arizona and left the locker room in a walking boot, but he told reporters he would play against the Lions. Linebacker Brian Urlacher (hamstring) has missed the last three games and has yet to practice this week. The Bears had dropped five of six prior to the win at Arizona, averaging 11.4 points in the losses. They have won every game in which they have scored at least 18. The defense accounted for a pair of touchdowns in the 28-13 win over the Cardinals and quarterback Jay Cutler bounced back from an awful start to throw for a touchdown and at least keep the offense moving.
ABOUT THE LIONS (4-11): Detroit has simply become the Calvin Johnson show. What was once an explosive offense trying to compensate for a lackluster defense has put up an average of just 16 points in the last three games. Matthew Stafford (4,695) could end up with another 5,000-yard season but has only 17 touchdown passes to go with 16 interceptions. His 443 yards in Saturday’s 31-18 loss to the Atlanta Falcons marked the most in NFL history without a touchdown pass. Stafford hasn’t gotten much help from the running game and is frequently throwing from behind. Johnson caught 11 passes for 225 yards in the loss to Atlanta and is averaging 126.3 yards, making the 108 he needs for 2,000 a strong possibility. He has had at least 118 yards in each of the last eight games.
* Bears are 1-4 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Lions are 0-4 ATS in their last four games overall.
* Under is 6-0 in Bears’ last six vs. NFC North foes.
* Under is 4-1 in Lions’ last five vs. NFC North foes.
1. The Bears also lost starting S Chris Conte (hamstring) in the Arizona game. Anthony Walters replaced him the rest of the game.
2. Johnson was held to a season-low 34 yards in a 13-7 loss at Chicago on Oct. 22.
3. Chicago has taken eight of the last nine in the series but lost in its last trip to Detroit 24-13 on Oct. 10, 2011.