Chicago: Players to watch

Jimmy Clausen, QB: He gets his first start since 2010 and may get an inauspicious welcome from the daunting Lions defense. Jay Cutler’s benching could be a harbinger of more changes in the Bears staff and lineups, but Clausen will at least get his shot.

Matt Forte, RB: He’s is a dual-threat, with 932 rushing yards and six TDs and 745 receiving yards and three TDs.

Martellus Bennett, TE: He torched the Lions for eight catches and 109 yards in the first meeting. Bennett is second on the team with 81 catches and 857 yards.


Quick turnaround: Having lost to the Saints on Monday night, the Bears are working on a short week. They’ve lost their other two games this season with less than seven days’ prep.

Going for sweep: It’s tough to beat a team twice in the same season, but the Lions dominated the first meeting 34-17, though the offense still is looking to establish consistency.

Home-field advantage: It’s Chicago. It’s Soldier Field. It’s winter. The forecast doesn’t call for horrible weather, but it’ll no doubt be cold. That could favor the team with the better running game.

Different directions: The Lions are vying for the division title and a playoff spot; the Bears are just trying to end the season respectably. Is there enough motivation to play hard?

Last hurrah: Rumors have coach Marc Trestman on the hot seat because of a disappointment first season. Are the players still behind him?

Facts and figures

The Bears have the worst scoring defense (29.2 points), while the Lions boast the best scoring defense (17.0 points).

Alshon Jeffery had nine receptions the first meeting, but with Brandon Marshall out for the season, Jeffery will get more safety attention.

The Bears gave up 390 yards to Lions QB Matthew Stafford in the first meeting and couldn’t guard WR Calvin Johnson. They’ll have to come up with a better plan.

The Lions rank third in third-down defensive efficiency (35.7 percent). If they can stagnate the Bears drives, they’ll have more chances for the offense to score.

The Bears are 28-14 at Soldier Field against the Lions. There’s some home-field advantage there, but will it hold?