While the Detroit Lions are moving closer to a memorable season, the helpless Chicago Bears may be ready to move on from Jay Cutler. The Lions look to clinch a playoff berth and possibly more when they visit their rival Bears on Sunday with Jimmy Clausen under center and the jobs of coach Marc Trestman and GM Phil Emery hanging in the balance. A win clinches a postseason spot for Detroit, and the Lions could win the NFC North title and avoid a winner-take-all showdown at Green Bay next week should the Packers lose at Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Detroit secured just its ninth double-digit win season - in 81 years - after its 16–14 victory over Minnesota last week and has its sights set on a first division title since 1993 and a third home playoff game in the last 57 years. "What we're doing right now is all for the city," defensive end and Detroit native Jason Jones told the Detroit Free Press. "The Lions have been through a lot of seasons where they haven't been too good. What we can bring to this city, it's so important right now. Our fans want it. We want it." After Chicago's latest debacle, a 31-15 loss on national TV to New Orleans on Monday in which Cutler threw three interceptions and was sacked seven times by the 31st-ranked defense, Trestman decided to turn to Clausen, who is 1-9 as a starter and hasn't started a game since 2010.
TV: 1 p.m. FOX. LINE: Lions –7. O/U: 46
ABOUT THE BEARS (5-9): Cutler has posted an NFL-high 24 turnovers and last year's No. 2 scoring offense has dropped to 19th this season. "We haven't been able to do the things that we want to get done," Trestman said about Cutler and the offense. "We've seen moments of it, but it's not where we need to be. But it's not all about Jay. It's about our entire offense, working together to get it done." The defense has been just as bad or worse, as the preseason Super Bowl contender has surrendered the most points (409) in the league, and the problems aren't just limited to the field. Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer had to extend a tearful apology after disparaging comments he made about Cutler hit the press last week.
ABOUT THE LIONS (10-4): The defense, which shut out Minnesota in the second half and intercepted two passes, picked up an offense that garnered a season-low 233 total yards while Matthew Stafford finished with a season-worst 18.5 total quarterback rating. The Lions rank first in points allowed (17.0) and rushing defense (63.8) and second in total defense (300.3), and that unit will play a key role should next week's game in Green Bay be for the division title. The offense is operating at its lowest level since Stafford's 2009 rookie season, scoring only 20.7 points and averaging 340.9 yards of total offense.
1. The Lions are 0-9 in road divisional games in December and January.
2. Chicago has allowed 400 points for a second straight season and just third all-time.
3. The Bears are paying Cutler $22.5 million this season, must pay him $15.5 million next year whether he's on the roster or not, and another $10 million in '16 if he's on the roster three days into the '15 season.
PREDICTION: Lions 34, Bears 13