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Bears expect Mack back when Lions visit


Reuters Last Updated at 09-11-2018 01:46:10 IST

A couple of first-year head coaches will meet when the Chicago Bears host the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field.

But the early results have been much different for Chicago's Matt Nagy and Detroit's Matt Patricia.

The Bears are 5-3 and sit in first place in the NFC North as they pursue their first playoff appearance since 2010. Alternatively, the Lions are in last place at 3-5 and hope to avoid a three-game skid this weekend.

Just don't bring up any playoff chatter with Nagy. Not yet, at least.

"Never," Nagy said in comments published by the Chicago Daily Herald. "You'll never hear that from me. You'll never hear the word ‘playoffs' from me. Because we're worried about (Game) 9. If we worry about playoffs, then we're worrying about the wrong thing. We have a lot of season left."

That includes home-and-home games against the rival Lions, who have won three straight games against the Bears and nine of the previous 10. This is the 177th all-time meeting between the clubs, with Chicago holding an all-time advantage of 97-74-5.

The Bears enter the weekend fifth in the NFL with an average of 29.4 points per game. The Lions are 20th with 22.5 points per game.

On defense, the Bears are No. 4 with an average of 19.1 points allowed. Detroit has let up 26.3 points per game, which is 23rd in the league.

Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has a 96.1 passer rating in his second season. He has passed for 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Trubisky's counterpart on the opposite sideline will be Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, now in his 10th season. The Georgia alum has a nearly identical passer rating at 96.5 and has passed for 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.

A sprained right ankle has sidelined Bears pass rusher Khalil Mack for the past two games, and his status is uncertain for Sunday. In a likely positive sign, Mack was available for a Wednesday practice for the first time since Week 6.

That might not be viewed as a positive for the Lions, who allowed Stafford to be hit 17 times with 10 sacks against Minnesota last week.

Chicago also expects to welcome back tight end Adam Shaheen, who has not played since injuring his right foot and ankle in the preseason.

For the Lions, defensive end Ezekiel Ansah told reporters "I feel amazing" after his first game back from a shoulder injury that kept him out for two months.

Ansah registered a sack last week against the Minnesota Vikings and has a four-game sack streak in games in which he has played. That is tied for the longest sack streak in franchise history.

This will be the first game for Detroit since it fired special-teams coordinator Joe Marciano. The team has struggled in many facets of special teams this season, including a No. 24 ranking in kick return yards allowed and a last-place No. 32 ranking in punt return yards allowed.

"It's never really an easy decision when you have to try to make a move in the middle of the season," Patricia said. "But just kind of taking a look at the evaluation of everything so far, from what we've done so far in the season and moving forward, I just thought it was the best thing right now to make that move and kind of go forward without Joe. ...

"He's a great man, a good person. Just thought the move was necessary."

--Field Level Media

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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