Finally! The game that Detroit has been waiting for, for 10 years. A game which signifies that your team might actually have talent on it…Or they just randomly picked your team out of a hat and thought “Sure, they haven’t had it for ages. Why the hell not?” Either way, this week is the Lions first Monday Night Football game in 10 years, and people might actually watch it.
The 4-0 Lions host the 2-2 Bears at Ford Field in front of millions (and millions) watching on ESPN for Monday Night Football. I know this is the game I’ve been looking forward to the most since the schedule was released. A chance to finally show how good the Lions can be, I thought. Well, it’s been 4 weeks and I think people get the idea of their talent level. So this game is more for cementing those beliefs about the Lions quality.
After pulling out a miracle comeback of 24 points last week (and 20 points the week before), the Lions are on a roll of some sort. A slow one, perhaps, but a roll all the same. The Lions are coming off a 34-30 win over the Dallas Cowboys last week and the Bears are coming off a 34-29 win over the Panthers. And two teams in form is always the best recipe for a highly anticipated match.
I’ve spoken enough about the Lions win over the Cowboys, so I’ll talk about the Bears, instead. Coming into Ford Field at 2-2 is going to be a tough task. Hell 4-0 coming into Ford Field would be a tough task. But the Bears scraped past the Panthers by a mere 5 points last week and were lucky to not lose it on a ridiculous Offensive Pass Interference call against Jeremy Shockey. Devin Hester showed his brilliance once again by taking a 70 yard punt back to the house to break the NFL record for return TD’s in a career, which is pretty amazing when you think about it. And the Lions Special Teams has been their weakest point so far, so they’ll have to be very weary of Hester and try to angle it away from him on every punt, which Donahue is skilled enough to do.
Once again, this season, the Bears O-Line is the talk of many fans. Cutler, yet again, is getting sacked at a ridiculous rate and has mentioned that he’s not comfortable behind that line. Definitely not the confidence the O-Line wants to hear from their QB. And it doesn’t get any easier for Cutler as he faces Ndamukong Suh and the Lions D-Line. They haven’t done much to this point of the season, but this could be their coming out party. The Lions only had 1 sack last week, albeit an important one, because the DB’s did such a poor job in coverage. But, fortunately, the Cowboys WR’s are much better than the Bears so they should do a better job of clamping down on their passing game.
The biggest upside for the Bears, however, was their running game last week. Matt Forte rushed for 205 yards against the Panthers and the Lions haven’t been the best run stopping team thus far, so they should be running it early and often. Johnny Knox is their best WR and is very, very fast, so the Bears will probably be looking for a few reverses to catch the Lions off-guard.
The Bears defense is their strong point once again. But their DB’s will be the affection of Matthew Stafford in this game. I don’t expect the Lions to run it too well against their front seven, but I do believe the Lions will be able to pass it quite well against their back 4. And with the lack of rushing success the Lions have had up to this point, I somewhat expect them to go after the Bears DB’s from the start. With Calvin Johnson catching 8 TD’s in his first 4 games, there’s a real possibility he could make it 10 or more in 5 weeks against the Bears.
Onto the Lions. For me, this week, Chris Houston has to really step up with Johnny Knox and Roy Williams. Houston got abused by both Dez Bryant and Laurent Robinson last week, but no one really remembers that cause he also got a pick 6, and the Lions eventually won. Nonetheless, he was very bad and really needs to improve against Knox, otherwise he’s going to get run over again.
The Lions D-Line has played well, but haven’t been anything like they were last season. Sure, they’ve gotten a few sacks here and there, but they haven’t been able to break down the pocket as easily as in the past. Well, this week is their chance to really have a field day. The Bears are synonymous for their disappointing O-Line, and the Lions have to take advantage of that. They should be able to pressure Cutler enough that he makes a lot of bad throws, which hopefully includes some going the other way.
Ah, Jahvid Best, if only you could see that big green patch to your right (or left) and run TOWARDS it. OK, I’m going a bit over the top there, but Best hasn’t been able to do much so far this season. The Lions got down early last week, so naturally, he was expendable for a lot of the game. The bright point was on the first play from the line of scrimmage, with him scurrying off for 19 yards, but he needs to be more consistent.
Coming into Detroit will be a tough task for the Bears and I don’t think they’ll be ready for what the Lions and the Ford Field crowd give them. This is the Lions chance to prove, for good, to the world how good they are and what they are truly capable of.
I have the Lions winning this one quite comfortably, 34-10 (but hopefully more).