Hub Arkush: Chicago Bears match up well vs. Lions despite recent struggles in series Bears win likely includes Howard and Cohen outperforming Lions' big three on offense By HUB ARKUSHNov. 17, 2017 CHICAGO — Yes, the Lions have beaten the Bears in seven of their past eight meetings.CHICAGO — Yes, the Lions have beaten the Bears in seven of their past eight meetings. But all but one of those seven Bears losses have been by one score, the last three by three, four and three points in overtime, respectively, and one of Chicago's three lonely 2016 victories was by a field goal over the Lions last year in Soldier Field. These are two teams that match up very well against each other. Detroit is the better team right now but it had an uneven struggle to beat the lowly Browns in Ford Field last Sunday. The Bears were playing their best football in years over the four weeks leading up to last Sunday’s serious letdown, and the Lions’ losses to the Panthers and Steelers came against two teams Chicago has knocked off. It is easy to see why the Lions are three-point favorites, but this is not a matchup they own. A case can be made for either of these teams Sunday.The Lions come into Soldier Field sixth in the NFL in points scored but among the league’s worst on the ground — at 29th in rushing yardage and 30th in average gain per rush. Most of Detroit’s damage is done through the air, where the Lions are ninth in the NFL in passing yards and they would rank higher were they not 25th in percentage of quarterback sacks allowed. The Bears “D” is ninth in total defense, 15th against the run, 10th against the pass and sixth in sack percentage, while sitting 13th in points allowed. We might give the Bears an edge here but the one player they can least afford to go without these days — Danny Trevathan — is highly unlikely to go Sunday due to a bad calf.Obviously, QB Matt Stafford is the difference for the Lions with a 96.3 passer rating and 17 touchdowns against just 5 interceptions. Remarkably over his past 32 games, Stafford has thrown 58 touchdowns vs. just 16 interceptions, and he has become the best in the business over the past season-plus in engineering fourth-quarter comebacks. That’s the problem for the Bears, knowing the last team to score will likely win this one. Golden Tate is one of the most underrated receivers in the league, and Marvin Jones was red hot with 19-313-3 receiving in three games prior to being held to one catch for two yards last week vs. Cleveland. Ameer Abdullah is their lead running back but third-down back, Theo Riddick, is more dangerous.On defense, Detroit is pedestrian — 22nd in total “D,” 11th vs. the run, 25th vs. the pass and 21st in points allowed — but the Lions are 5th in the NFL in interception percentage. The Bears, we know, can run the ball — they’re No. 8 in the NFL in rushing — but they’re ranked 31st in passing, 29th in total offense and 28th in points scored — which is actually inflated by three defensive touchdowns. Much like the Bears' Eddie Goldman, Detroit’s A'Shawn Robinson is quietly becoming one of the league’s more dominant interior defensive lineman. However, John Fox and Dowell Loggains should note that the Lions allowed the Browns — who are just 17th in the NFL running the ball — to go off for 201 yards on 33 carries last week and try not to outsmart themselves Sunday. Detroit is just 20th in QB sack percentage, and with Kyle Long presumably back and everybody else in their natural positions on the O-line, it should be a strength for the Bears.A steady diet of Mitch Trubisky handing off to Jordan Howard out of the shotgun early, and then play-action tosses to Dontrelle Inman and Tarik Cohen once the run is established could lead to Trubisky’s finest hour as a Bear. But keep an eye on Stafford, Tate and Jones, and Howard and Cohen. The group with the better numbers in the end will most likely have played for the winning team. With Trevathan, I’d pick the Bears in a nailbiter, but without him it seems likely Stafford finds a way late.