By Andrew Seligman
AP Sports Writer
LAKE FOREST — Matthew Stafford is rolling along, and the Detroit Lions are starting to pick up wins.
Just don’t ask coach Jim Caldwell about the playoff possibilities.
The Lions visit Chicago and all that’s on his mind is beating the Bears and keeping the win streak going on Sunday.
“I’m not concerned with (the playoffs),” he said. “I’m concerned with the Bears.”
The Lions (5-4) come into the game with back-to-back wins after dropping three in a row.
Considering the Packers are missing the injured Aaron Rodgers and the Browns still are seeking their first win, Detroit took advantage of a lighter stretch in the schedule.
That continues with Chicago (3-6).
The Bears were starting to show some promise prior to their bye, posting back-to-back wins for the first time since 2015 and then hanging with NFC South leader New Orleans on the road. But a loss to the Packers last week wiped out the good vibe and renewed pressure on coach John Fox.
Detroit, meanwhile, comes in tied with Green Bay for second in the NFC North, two games behind Minnesota. The Lions have a Thanksgiving date with the Vikings at home. But first, they have to avoid a letdown against Chicago.
Here are some things to know as Detroit goes for its third straight win and the Bears attempt to avoid their third straight loss:
ON TARGET: Stafford comes into the game ranked fourth in the NFL in passing this season and on quite a role in recent weeks.
He has thrown for 1,033 yards five touchdowns and an interception the past three games. His completion rate during that stretch is 67.3 percent and his passer rating 111.6.
Detroit is 3-5 at Chicago during Stafford’s career. He has only one 300-yard game at Soldier Field — in 2011, when he threw 63 passes in a lopsided loss — and he struggled in a 17-14 loss early last season. Stafford got intercepted twice and the Lions’ offense failed to score a touchdown in that game.
“We played about as poorly as we can play,” Stafford said. “Their defense played well, we didn’t execute really at any position at a good enough level to probably win the game, so it’s a motivating factor looking at that tape.”
HEATING UP: Fox won a replay challenge last week and cost his team possession near the goal line in the process.
That plus the fact that Chicago was coming off a bye and Green Bay had a short week with a Monday night game raised the heat on him a few more degrees.
Fox decided to challenge the spot after Benny Cunningham was ruled out near the end zone. The problem was the replay showed Cunningham lost control of the ball just before hitting the pylon. The result was a lost fumble and a touchback rather than a first-and-goal for Chicago.
It was not a good moment for Fox. The coach who led Carolina and Denver to the Super Bowl is 12-29 in 2½ seasons with the Bears.
“He’s won places, too,” guard Kyle Long said. “He’s got that knowledge, and I’ve never won so I don’t know what that’s like. But I know what it’s like when the outside’s turning on you on the inside. You’ve got to just kinda circle the wagons. That’s kind of the spot we’ve been in the last few years, unfortunately.”
CATCHING ON: Tight end Eric Ebron put Detroit ahead to stay with a 29-yard touchdown catch last week. Maybe that can be a turning point for him.
Though he has been a regular target for Stafford, the 24-year-old Ebron hasn’t delivered as consistently as fans would like. The Lions drafted him 10th overall in 2014 — two spots ahead of Odell Beckham Jr. Ebron’s reception totals increased from 25 to 47 to 61 in his first three seasons, but he has 20 catches for 234 yards this season.
GROUNDED: The Bears will need to get more from their running game after managing 55 yards on 17 attempts. Just about all of it came from Jordan Howard, who had 54 yards on 15 carries.
On the plus side for the Bears, the Lions have been struggling to stop the run since Haloti Ngata (elbow) went on injured reserve. They have allowed 136.8 yards rushing in past four games without him after holding opponents to 74.6 over the first five.
HOLDING ON: Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky threw for a career-high 297 yards and a touchdown last week. But the rookie also got sacked five times, bringing his total to 16 in five starts.
That’s not all on his line.
“The sacks are more so me holding onto the football than a breakdown in protection so they’ve been doing an awesome job,” Trubisky said. “And I just have to continue to go through my progressions, get the ball out and find the check-downs.”