The Bears relish being underdogs, so it probably works in their favor that the Lions are six-point favorites heading into Monday night's meeting.
Any extra ounce of motivation the Bears can find will be put to good use in a battle with huge implications for the NFC North race. The Bears are already two games behind the Lions and the Packers for the division lead and would fall three games behind Detroit — and Green Bay, too, if it defeats Atlanta — with a loss at Ford Field.
Three games may not seem like an insurmountable lead with 11 games left to play, and, of course, a wild-card bid is a pass to the dance, too. Falling that far behind in the division might be too much for the Bears to overcome, though. They have winnable games against the Vikings and Buccaneers before the bye week but face a difficult stretch (at Philadelphia, vs. Detroit, vs. San Diego and at Oakland) afterward. There are no gimmes in those four games.
They need to quickly fix what ails their 31st-ranked defense, and the offense, which ranks 26th, isn't in much better shape. This team needs to click in all three phases of the game — not two out of three, as it often has this season — against Detroit.
The Bears could somehow overcome a loss to the Lions on Monday night and find a way into the playoffs, but they will need even more good fortune than they had last season to accomplish the feat. That's asking a lot.
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