A Loss to the Lions Would Spell Doom for the Bears. But Not for the Reason That You Think.

Colleen Kane at the Chicago Tribune thinks the Bears will win Sunday in their match up against the Detroit Lions after the Lions fired GM Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia:

The Lions might be fired up by the recent regime change. But I think the Bears defense is going to be even more motivated after the shoddy performance against the Green Bay Packers in Week 12. Mitch Trubisky was 4-0 with 12 touchdowns and an interception against Matt Patricia’s Lions teams. If Trubisky can cut out the mistakes, he should be able to have another decent one even with Patricia gone. The Bears will pull off a win for the first time since Oct. 18.

Most of the writers I’ve seen agree with this prediction but I pulled this one because, although it mentions the boost that the Lions might get from the leadership change, it focuses on the state of the Bears.

Too many of the writers in town are treating this like the game should be a slam dunk. I’ve heard it said repeatedly that, “If the Bears lose to the Lions on Sunday, then we’re having a whole different conversation about this team.” because they should be so much better that losing to the Lions is some sort of inexcusable and inconceivable thing. I even heard one writer repeated say on a podcast, “Thanks heavens the Lions are in the Bears division.”

A loss Sunday might change the conversation but lets be clear about one thing. The Bears have had some recent success against the Lions but those games have been close. There isn’t and really never has been all that much that separates the two teams. It’s just that the Lions do some of the little things that losing teams do just a tad bit more frequently than the Bears. But on any given Sunday, these teams aren’t separated by that much. Add the boost new interim head coach Darrell Bevell provides and this is a game the Bears could very easily lose.

Having said all of that, this game isn’t about the Lions. As far as I’m concerned it is entirely about the Bears.

The Bears are coming off of a miserable performance against the Packers last Sunday. The defense, in particular, played uncharacteristically poorly. The real question is, “How will the team bounce back?”

All we’ve heard from head coach Matt Nagy since this streak of losses began was about how the culture at Halas Hall will see them through. Members of the media, who very obviously like Nagy and like his style in handling them, have defended him to the extent that they can by saying, “Well, at least by all appearances, he hasn’t lost the locker room.” And the players have certainly said the right things.

But that all changes if the Bears don’t win this week.

Will the Bears defense respond to last week’s debacle by tightening up and coming out determined to leave that terrible game behind them? Can the Bears build offense upon what little encouraging signs there were for them on Sunday and run the ball effectively against a mediocre Lions run defense?

If the Bears lose this game, it won’t be because they blew it against a team that wasn’t nearly as talented as they are. And it won’t be because the Lions got a little boost from the regime change there. It will be because the Bears didn’t bounce back effectively from a terrible loss to the Packers on Sunday that should have provided all the motivation they needed to play well enough to win.

And that will, indeed, entirely change the conversation on Monday.

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