After an offseason and training camp unlike any other, Chicago Bears football has returned. After their past two seasons began against the rival Green Bay Packers, the Bears travel to Detroit to take on the Lions. While no fans will be in attendance, the stakes are high for the Bears in 2020. If not for the players, than for Head Coach Matt Nagy, who has yet to earn an opening weekend victory.
It’s also a crucial first test for starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who will be looking to secure his future in Chicago this season. Detroit seems like the ideal start for Trubisky, who has seen significant success against the Lions in his career. On the other side of the field will be longtime Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has had mixed results against the Bears, but has shown flashes of elite talent.
|Mitchell Trubisky||Matthew Stafford|
|Yards Per Game||271.8||263.4|
Now we get to the potential game-breakers in this matchup. To pick X-Factors and give predictions on the game this week, I’m joined by fellow Bears On Tap contributors Kevin Gora and Aalap Desai.
Duke: CB Jaylon Johnson
Jaylon Johnson came into camp with a ton of hype and left with a starting job. Unfortunately, being a rookie, that comes with a target on his back. I expect Matthew Stafford to aggressively go at Johnson early and often, which will be a great test for the Utah product. If Johnson can flash the physicality and red zone savvy he did in college, expect him to make an immediate impact on Sunday.
Kevin: TE Jimmy Graham
Jimmy Graham is the guy to keep an eye on. When the Bears signed him this offseason, they were criticized for the size and length of his contract. The matchup this week against a projected average Lions defense, and his determination to prove everyone wrong, will be a perfect combination for success. Do not expect Graham to turn back into the Saints version of himself in all of 2020, but early in the season expect him to get a lot of snaps as their rookie tight-end, Cole Kmet, gets acclimated to the speed of the NFL.
Aalap: OLB Barkevious Mingo
The Bears might be without Robert Quinn (my original X-Factor) this Sunday in Detroit. Quinn was listed as “doubtful” for Week One as he nurses an ankle injury. Enter Barkevious Mingo. Mingo, despite a lackluster career so far, should benefit from playing opposite Khalil Mack and on a defensive line with Akiem Hicks and Bilal Nichols. The team will definitely need him to step up this week and put pressure on Matthew Stafford, and maybe even bring him down a few times.
Duke: 24–17 Bears. I expect Mitch to have his normal day against the Lions while building some confidence along the way. I also expect Matt Nagy to test out some new schemes. Khalil Mack will make Taylor Decker once again regret suiting up and Roquan Smith makes a statement with a huge game.
Kevin: 24–10 Bears. This is a great Week One matchup to help the Bears gain confidence as a team early in the season. All eyes will be on Trubisky, as he tries to prove his worth in the final year of his rookie contract. I believe Mitch can play well enough to help the Bears offense score multiple times. Expect their defense to make multiple stops and come back to their 2018 form, barring injuries.
Aalap: 30–17 Bears. Mitch Trubisky has had the Lions’ number the past two seasons. That won’t change in Week One. Matt Patricia will likely play man coverage, which this offense has exposed in the past. The defense will do what the defense does and terrorize Matthew Stafford. Lions get a touchdown in garbage time.
Note: If you enjoyed the contributions made in this article, be sure to follow Kevin Goya on Twitter at @kevingora21 and Aalap Desai at @ADesai410.