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2012 NFL picks against the spread, Week 7: Lions and Bears destined for close game

The Chicago Bears are favored by almost a touchdown, but the Detroit Lions have the offensive weapons to keep it close.

Jonathan Daniel

The Chicago Bears are the class of the NFC North at 4-1. Their defense is downright dominant and they have balance and options (the name of a very good DJ Quik rap LP, by the way) on offense. They can stay atop the NFC North with a win, and there isn't much to suggest they won't get it.

The Bears might win, but the Detroit Lions will keep it close and cover that 6 1/2-point spread.

It's time for the Lions to start showing that they are a playoff contender. They've played five close games and have only two wins to show for it. They're coming off an overtime win at Philadelphia and have one of the most prolific passing offenses in the league.

If Matthew Stafford can hit his receivers, notably Calvin Johnson but making sure he avoids a big play for the Chicago defense, the Lions have the offense to stay in this game at Soldier Field.

Defense might be where the Lions stumble. This is just an average defense that is charged with stopping do-it-all running back Matt Forte, quarterback Jay Cutler and ace receiver Brandon Marshall.

Cutler, though, can be inconsistent. The Bears have won seven of the past eight meetings against Detroit, but in the parity-rich NFL, such streaks are bound to end sooner than later.

This game should feature a good deal of offense, and might come down to a late touchdown or field goal for the win. Look for the Lions to cover.