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Opponent breakdown: Lions


The Bears (6-9) close out the 2015 regular season at home versus an old NFC North rival, the Detroit Lions (6-9). Here's a breakdown of Chicago's Week 17 opponent:

What's new: When the Lions drafted cornerback Darius Slay in the second round of the 2013 Draft, they thought they were getting a shutdown defender. But in his first pro season, Slay was hardly that. As a rookie, he started just four games and had no interceptions. But since 2014, Slay has proven to be tough matchup for opposing receivers. Last year he started all 16 games, recording two interceptions and 17 passes defensed. This year, fewer teams are throwing his way, but Slay still has 13 passes defensed, along with 55 tackles.

What's old: Nine years into the league and defenses still can't figure out a way to stop Calvin Johnson. The Detroit wide receiver has a rare combination of size, speed, leaping ability and hands to make him essentially unstoppable. This season, Johnson has played in every game, hauling in 78 catches for 1,077 yards and eight touchdowns. Known as Megatron, the receiver has long-since transformed the Detroit offense into one of the league's best, and continues to put up big numbers at age 30.

Last time out: Facing the 49ers in Detroit's home finale, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had one of his best games of the season. Stafford threw for 301 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but what was best was his efficiency. For the second consecutive game, he did not throw an interception, resulting in a passer rating of 118.6. That helped the Lions top the 49ers 32-17, Detroit's fifth win it its last seven games.

Series history: The Bears and Lions have played 171 times, with Chicago holding a 96-70-5 edge. Detroit won the earlier matchup this season, 37-34 in Week 6, the fifth straight victory in the series for the Lions. The Bears have fared well in this series playing at home, with a 50-26-3 lead in Chicago.

Injury report: Given that there's only one week left in the regular season, Detroit is fairly healthy. Safety Glover Quinn played last week after clearing the league's concussion protocol and ended up playing in 100 percent of the Lions defensive snaps. The team is expected to be close to full strength against the Bears.

Schemes and tendencies: On Oct. 26, the Lions reorganized their coaching staff, promoting quarterbacks coach Jim Bob Cooter to offensive coordinator. Since then, the team has played much better on that side of the ball. In the eight games prior to the changes, Detroit averaged 18.6 points per game. Since Cooter began running the show, the Lions have averaged 26.4 points over seven games. Not surprisingly, the team was 1-7 prior to the switch and 5-2 since.

Did you know?: The injury bug has bitten every team around the NFL, to varying degrees. But one position that has been especially hit hard is quarterback. Through 16 weeks, 52 different players have started at least one game at QB for the 32 NFL teams. A pair of franchises – Dallas and Houston – each has had four different starters at the position. Yet the NFC North has been remarkably healthy. If Stafford and Jay Cutler each start this game on Sunday, and Minnesota's Teddy Bridgewater opposes Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers on Sunday night, all four teams in the division will have a QB that started 15 or 16 games. Only Cutler – who didn't start in Week 3 because of a strained hamstring – missed a single game this year in the black and blue division.

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