CHICAGO (CBS) — Is it the first game of a breakthrough season for Mitchell Trubisky and the offense or the beginning of the end for Trubisky, Ryan Pace, and others?
Here are three things to watch for as the Bears open the 2020 season against the Lions in Detroit.
Has Trubisky Improved?
Where can we start but with #10? Trubisky won the starting job, but is he really improved like he and the coaches say? Keep an eye on his footwork and decision making. He and head coach Matt Nagy said he worked hard to improve in those areas this offseason. I’m skeptical it will translate live in a game, after four years of watching him struggle. But, the Lions could be the perfect jumping point. They had one of the worst pass defenses in the league last year, and Mitch has had his most success by far against them, with 11 touchdown passes in five games. He has 37 in his other 36 starts.
Bears Defense vs. Stafford
How will the Bears defense match up with Matthew Stafford, especially with a rookie number one on the depth chart at cornerback? Stafford missed both meetings last year because of injury. He’s healthy now, and I would expect him and the Lions to challenge second round pick Jaylon Johnson. He had no preseason and was limited for much of camp. If you’re thinking the defensive line getting after Stafford is the key, he’s actually one of the best quarterbacks in the league when under pressure.
Keeping Continuity Intact
It seems to me continuity will be a key at least early in this season with no preseason and a truncated camp. The Lions have a lot of new faces. In ESPN’s continuity rankings, the Lions are 27th, while the Bears are middle of the pack. On defense, the Lions return fewer than half their starters and have a new coordinator. So watch for maybe some sloppiness or miscommunication from them especially on that side of the ball. That’s something the Bears offense can take advantage especially with all the continuity they have at quarterback.
Bears game starts Sunday at noon in Detroit.