Big looks best in Windy City

  • By: David John (Twitter: @SLifeDaveJohn)
  • Last Updated: November 10 2013, 21:38 GMT

David John is keen on a big play or two taking place at Soldier Field as Chicago host Detroit in the NFL on Sunday.

Matthew Stafford has the potential for a long scoring play for the Lions
Matthew Stafford has the potential for a long scoring play for the Lions

Detroit at Chicago (1800BST)

The Lions return from their bye week and after the Bears defeated the Packers on Monday night, the trio find themselves tied at the top of the NFC North at 5-3.

With Green Bay's quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffering a fractured collar-bone which will keep him sidelined for a period of time, Sunday's clash in the Windy City could well give one of the remaining duo a handy little leg up as we head into the second half of the season.

It was the Lions who came out on top 40-32 when these two met earlier in the campaign at Ford Field with Chicago rather flattered as a couple of late touchdowns cut a hefty deficit when they were patently second best.

It was a sloppy effort by the Bears defense mixed in with four turnovers as they gave up six scores on six consecutive possessions in the first half and it is highly likely quarterback Matthew Stafford is going to have a fair amount of success again.

Although the weather will be cool at Soldier Field, the forecast is for a sunny day with light winds and that leads me to an interesting bet - take the overs on the longest touchdown yardage at 47.5.

Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson have been in scintillating form this season and there are few - if any - more dangerous tandems in terms of hooking up for the big scoring play.

Similarly, Chicago expect to have starter Jay Cutler back under centre earlier than scheduled from a groin injury and his arm strength is almost the equal of Stafford. He has two tremendous downfield threats of hs own in Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall.

The icing on the cake is that neither passing defense is that spectacular (ranked 20th and 24th) so expect the aerial bombardment to start early and often and if that is not enough, the Bears have the second most runs of over 40 yards while the Lions have allowed the most so far this season.

That could see the host's running back Matt Forte break off a big play so there are plenty of options in terms of how we achieve the required yardage to land the bet.

In summary, I would actually be quite surprised if both teams don't beat it.

Verdict: Chicago 27 Detroit 30

Denver at San Diego (2125GMT)

The news is good concerning Denver head coach John Fox as he has been released from hospital after aortic valve replacement surgery and he has sent an upbeat message to his coaches and players ahead of the trip to California.

Jack Del Rio will take his place on the sidelines as he recuperates and has had an excellent response from his players during practice as everyone steps up to fill the void left currently by Fox.

The Broncos are favoured by a touchdown on their return from the bye week and perhaps the break will have helped iron out a few wrinkles that have developed.

They suffered a first defeat against Indianapolis in week seven and then were careless in the early stages against Washington so despite still being clear favourites for the Super Bowl, punters should be watching out for a more disciplined performance to go with the incredible ability to pile on the points.

The hosts look to be on the right path in general but at 4-4, that is just not going to cut it in an AFC West where the top two teams have lost just one game between them.

Philip Rivers seems to have found a new lease of life under new head coach Mike McCoy (the former offensive co-ordinator in Denver) and ranks fourth among quarterbacks this season with an average of 309 yards passing per game.

They looked to have found themselves a real gem too in the shape of rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen, who had his third 100-yard game in the overtime loss to the Redskins and is sure to play an increasing role in the offense.

He has so far proved himsef a better draft value than the likes of Cordarelle Patterson and Tavon Austin taken in higher rounds so I like his chance of making an impact again against a Denver pass defense ranked a lowly 30th in the NFL potentially missing Champ Bailey and Duke Ihenacho.

I like the 5/4 about Allen finding the end zone anytime and add to a recent haul that has seen him snag three touchdowns in his last four games.

Verdict: Denver 38 San Diego 28

Week 10 verdicts:

Buffalo 17 Pittsburgh 19

Cincinnati 24 Baltimore 17

Jacksonville 16 Tennessee 21

Oakland 14 NY Giants 22

Philadelphia 14 Green Bay 17

Seattle 22 Atlanta 13

St Louis 16 Indianapolis 24

Carolina 20 San Francisco 26

Houston 22 Arizona 19

Dallas 28 New Orleans 33

Miami 20 Tampa Bay 16

  • Posted at 1250 GMT on 09/11/2013.