The Chicago Bears visit the Detroit Lions in Week 15 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
PFFELO Ranking: 20
Coverage by: Lorin Cox
Matchup: Chicago Bears offense vs. Detroit Lions defense
- RB Jordan Howard vs. LB Tahir Whitehead – Howard has had trouble catching the ball this season, dropping 25.0 percent of his catchable targets. That’s the worst drop rate among running backs and is a big reason why his overall grade is down to 74.8 this year, which ranks 30th at his position. His 79.6 run grade ranks 17th, though, and he’s forced 33 missed tackles on his 235 carries. Whitehead is the 20th-highest graded linebacker so far this season at 80.2 overall, and his 86.5 run-defense grade ranks 11th. He’s generating run stops on 8.7 percent of his snaps, the fifth-best rate among 4-3 outside linebackers.
- WR Kendall Wright vs. CB Nevin Lawson – Wright is the Bears’ highest-graded wide receiver this season at 77.6 overall, which ranks 37th at his position. His passer rating when targeted is up to 103.9, the 27th best. 72.8 percent of his routes have been run out of the slot, but his only two dropped passes this season have come while lined up on the outside. Prior to last week, over 80 percent of Lawson’s snaps had come at outside cornerback, but in Week 14, he lined up in the slot for 51.1 percent of his snaps. Quarterbacks targeting him this season have a 105.8 passer rating, as he’s allowing 1.51 yards per coverage snap, which ranks outside of the top-100 at his position.
- TE Adam Shaheen vs. CB Quandre Diggs – Shaheen has caught all 12 of his catchable targets so far, and on his limited sample size, he leads all Bears tight ends with an average of 1.90 yards per route run, which would rank sixth-best at his position if he qualified. He is now up to a 72.4 overall grade that ranks 19th, and he remains the highest-graded rookie tight end in the NFL. Diggs transitioned into a safety role last week after spending most of the season in the slot. He’s allowing a 120.0 passer rating when targeted, the eighth-worst mark among cornerbacks despite only allowing receptions every 12.5 coverage snaps, which is tied for the 29th-best rate.
PFFELO Ranking: 18
Coverage by: Brett Whitefield
Matchup: Detroit Lions offense vs. Chicago Bears defense
- WR Marvin Jones vs. CB Kyle Fuller – The last time these two played, Jones took advantage of the favorable matchup and put up 85 yards and a touchdown. However, Fuller gave up just one of those grabs for 24 yards while in primary coverage on Jones. Previous to their Week 11 tilt, Jones was having a very strong year while Fuller was ice cold. Though Jones is still playing at a high level, Fuller has completely turned his season around and has been on fire the past two weeks. He has virtually been an eraser to whoever he has covered over that stretch, with quarterbacks targeting his coverage 20 times and only producing a passer rating of 27.1 on those throws. On those 20 targets into his coverage, Fuller has allowed just 55 yards while getting his hands on four balls, including one for an interception. Jones, on the other hand, has continued his run as one of the most productive deep threats in the league and currently ranks fourth in deep catches with 13, third in yards at 454, and tied for second in touchdowns with five.
- RB Theo Riddick vs. LB Danny Trevathan – Since taking over as the team's starting running back, Theo Riddick has produced back-to-back top-10 game grades at his position, including a season-best 84.8 this past week. Riddick has been one of the hardest running backs to tackle. Riddick is averaging a forced missed tackle on 30.3 percent of his touches. He does most of his damage in the passing game, where his 1.80 yards per route run average ranks eighth among running backs with at least 30 targets, while his 20 forced missed tackles on receptions rank second. He faces off against Trevathan, who didn’t play in their Week 11 matchup. Trevathan brings in the fifth-highest coverage grade for a linebacker with a mark of 87.6. Trevathan is also one of the best tackling linebackers in the league, and his 26.7 combined tackling efficiency currently ranks seventh among inside linebackers with at least 150 snaps played on defense.
- TE Eric Ebron vs. S Chris Prosinski – Ebron is coming off his most productive game as a pro, in which he caught 10 passes for 94 yards, both career highs. He has really stepped up his play of late and currently finds himself ranked 15th among tight ends with an overall grade of 73.9. It’s no secret he is at his best when used as a receiver primarily and since Week 9, Ebron has been one of the best receiving tight ends in the league, posting a receiving grade above 70.0 in every game. Prosinksi will likely be tasked with trying to slow Ebron down. Filling in for the injured Adrian Amos, he has been a below-average player, producing an overall grade of just 64.9.