Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions: 5 storylines to watch in Week 14

Following a week off, the Bears return to action Sunday with a matchup against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. It will be a rematch of a Week 11 meltdown in which the Bears blew a 12-point, fourth-quarter lead against Detroit.

Coach Matt Eberflus, quarterback Justin Fields and the Bears will look to avenge that loss on what forecasts to be a chilly but sunny afternoon by the lakefront. Last week, the Lions rebounded from a Thanksgiving Day loss to Green Bay by beating the New Orleans Saints on the road.

Eberflus is looking to record back-to-back wins for the first time as an NFL head coach. The Bears have lost three straight games against the Lions.

The Bears and Lions kick off at noon. The game will be broadcast on Fox. Here are five storylines to watch.

1. Can the Bears score touchdowns?

The Lions' defense has allowed 26 points or more in four consecutive games. It has allowed 330 total yards or more in all four of those games. That includes the Week 11 matchup with the Bears, which the Lions won 31-26.

Fields and the Bears' offense have an opportunity to score points. The Bears need to finish drives with touchdowns. They settled for four field goals in that game against Detroit. A week later, kicker Cairo Santos provided all 12 points in a 12-10 win over Minnesota, making four field goals. The Lions are one of the worst defenses in the red zone. They allow a touchdown on 72% of red zone trips (tied for 30th in the league). The Bears have to capitalize when they push into Lions territory.

In that Week 11 matchup, Fields ran for 104 yards on 18 carries. It was his highest rushing total this season. It will be interesting to see how the Lions defense adjusts. Most of that rushing success came on the edge, running to the outside. The running backs struggled to find any space up the middle during the game.

Lions nose tackle Alim McNeill, who had 5 sacks and six tackles for loss this season, just went on injured reserve with a knee injury. That could change the equation some in the middle.

2. Turnover machine

The Bears' defense has 7 interceptions in the past two games. The Bears picked off Lions quarterback Jared Goff three times in Detroit. They intercepted Minnesota's Josh Dobbs four times a week later. Can the Bears keep creating turnovers?

It would be a lot to ask them to continue at that pace, but they have been around the football so much over the past several weeks. It wouldn't be a surprise if they keep putting themselves in position to make plays.

"Honestly, they come in bunches," cornerback Jaylon Johnson said. "We had a drought for a few weeks and now we've had a few weeks where we had multiple. Honestly, it just comes like that. But again, you've got to continue to play aggressive, continue to challenge, continue to put yourself in position and also take advantage of opportunities that do come."

Goff threw three interceptions against the Bears on Nov. 19. A few days later, he fumbled three times against the Packers on Thanksgiving Day. Then he played turnover-free football last week against New Orleans.

3. Who leads the running back room?

For the first time in a while, the Bears will have all three running backs healthy - Khalil Herbert, D'Onta Foreman and Roschon Johnson. Who is going to be the lead back on Sunday? The Bears certainly aren't tipping their hand.

Johnson was essentially the lead back when the Bears last played. Herbert was active against Minnesota, but saw only 15 snaps. Foreman was sidelined by an ankle injury. Early in the year, Herbert was the clear No. 1. When he suffered an ankle injury in early October, Foreman took over lead duties and played really well.

It's possible the Bears want to get a longer look at Johnson before the off-season. Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy believes Johnson is seeing the field better now than he was early in the season.

But Herbert and Foreman have also proven to be reliable backs and, frankly, have been more efficient than Johnson in his limited opportunities. The Bears could simply go with the hot hand.

"A guy rips off a run or he's doing a really good job, you start feeding that guy," Eberflus said. "That's kind of how it works, but we certainly like having three guys that we can go to."

4. Can the Bears finish?

There's been a lot of talk at Halas Hall this week about finishing.

The Bears finally finished a game when they drove down the field for a game-winning field goal against the Vikings. It was the first game-winning, fourth-quarter drive led by Fields in more than a calendar year. It was in stark contrast to the matchup against the Lions a week earlier, when the Bears held a 12-point lead with just over four minutes to play and couldn't finish out the game.

In a league where the margins are razor thin, executing in the final minutes is the difference between wins and losses. Doing it once is nice, but the Bears have to show that they can do it again, and again, and again.

"We've got to be able to do it consistently if we want to be a team that can vie for the playoffs and win playoff games," tight end Cole Kmet said.

That goes for both the offense and the defense. The Bears gave up two quick touchdown drives in that fourth-quarter collapse against Detroit three weeks ago. The defense can't afford to become conservative in the final minutes of games, and the offense has to stay aggressive.

5. Eyes on No. 97

Three weeks ago, when the game was on the line, Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson made himself known. Hutchinson stripped the ball from Fields' hands. The play ended up going for a safety and all but ended the contest.

Hutchinson, the No. 2 overall draft pick in 2022, is the heart and soul of the Lions' defense. When he plays well, the Lions tend to win. They've won every game during which he had at least one sack this season. Overall, he has 5.5 sacks on the year.

The Bears' offensive tackles, Braxton Jones and Darnell Wright, will have their hands full with Hutchinson. On the play that resulted in the strip sack three weeks ago, Hutchinson beat Wright and swiped perfectly at the football.

"We thought he really operated well most of the game," Eberflus said of Wright. "He would tell you that he wished he had that last play back, too. Overall, I think he operated well. That's a heck of a pass rusher. One of the best motors in ball. You've got to be ready to go every single snap."

Wright vs. Hutchinson will be a matchup to watch again. In three career games against the Bears, Hutchinson has 2.5 sacks and an interception.

Chicago Bears running back Roschon Johnson (23) breaks away from Detroit Lions linebacker Jack Campbell (46) and safety Brian Branch (32) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
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