The Bears (3-5) will look to snap a four-game losing streak Sunday when they host the Detroit Lions (3-4-1) at Soldier Field. Here are four storylines to monitor in the game:
(1) Will a Bears offense that has struggled all season rebound from its worst performance of the year last Sunday in Philadelphia?
In a 19-14 loss to the Eagles, the Bears went three-and-out on their first five possessions while being held to minus-10 yards on 15 plays. The offense finally showed some signs of life in the second half, but by then the Eagles had built a commanding 19-0 lead.
The unit appeared to be on the cusp of a breakout performance two weeks ago when it generated season highs with 388 yards and 26 first downs in a home loss to the Chargers. But the offense took a major step in the wrong direction against the Eagles, registering season lows with 164 yards and 10 first downs.
The Bears will look to get off to a much quicker start Sunday against a Lions defense that ranks 27th in the NFL in points per game (27.1), 31st in yards (424.1) and 30th in third-down percentage (48.1). In a 31-24 loss last Sunday in Oakland, Detroit allowed the Raiders to compile 450 yards and convert 7-of-13 third-down opportunities.
It appears that the Bears will need to score more than the 17.8 points they've been averaging to beat a Lions team that features a potent offense led by veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford that's averaging 25.5 points per game this season.
(2) Will Mitchell Trubisky show improvement and maybe even revert to the form he displayed in an impressive win over the Lions last season?
The third-year quarterback had his least productive game of a disappointing season against the Eagles, completing just 10 of 21 passes for 125 yards and a 66.6 passer rating. Trubisky didn't commit any turnovers, but he was sacked three times.
The 2017 first-round pick missed an open Allen Robinson with a short third-down pass in the right flat on the Bears' first possession. Trubisky rebounded in the second half with a season-long 53-yard completion to Taylor Gabriel that set up the first of two David Montgomery 1-yard touchdown runs.
Trubisky and the Bears offense need to develop some rhythm by picking up first downs to sustain drives and score touchdowns instead of settling for field goals. That's exactly what they did last season in a 34-22 win over the Lions at Soldier Field, a game in which Trubisky threw for a career-high 355 yards with three TDs and a stellar 148.6 passer rating.
Another performance like that would certainly help boost an offense that has failed to perform up to expectations in 2019.
(3) Will the Bears defense play better than it did in Philadelphia and once again start generating more takeaways?
The Eagles dominated the first half of last Sunday's game, holding decisive advantages in total yards (202-9) first downs (14-2) and time of possession (20:45-9:15). But Philadelphia led only 12-0, thanks to two key third-down stops by the Bears defense inside its own 10 that forced the Eagles to settle for a pair of 28-yard field goals.
The Bears cut the deficit from 19-0 to 19-14. But the defense permitted the Eagles to ice the game with a methodical 16-play, 69-yard drive that burned 8:14 off the clock and resulted in a 38-yard field goal that made the score 22-14 with just :25 to play.
The defense, which was on the field for more than 40 minutes against the Eagles, needs to play better versus the Lions. Taking the ball away would be a good place to start for the Bears, who have generated only one takeaway in their last three games after producing nine in their previous three contests.
The Bears will be challenged by Stafford, who is having the best season of his 11-year career with the Lions. He has thrown for 2,499 yards with 19 touchdowns, five interceptions and a 106.0 passer rating that ranks fifth in the NFL and would be the highest of his career.
(4) Will the Bears lean on Montgomery and their ground game to help provide balance on offense?
A productive ground game Sunday would help keep the Bears defense off the field and likely increase the effectiveness of play-action passes because the Lions would have to respect the run.
Montgomery rushed for a career-high 135 yards on 27 carries two weeks ago against the Chargers before being limited to 40 yards on 14 attempts in Philadelphia. A strong outing by the rookie third-round pick from Iowa State would help generate rhythm on offense by moving the chains.
Last Sunday in Oakland, the Lions allowed Raiders rookie running back Josh Jacobs to rush for 120 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries.
Interestingly, the Bears offense and Lions defense both rank 27th in the NFL in rushing yards and 30th in passing yards. So something has to give Sunday at Soldier Field.