ACL’s Week 5 Matchup Preview: Bears @ Lions
After handing the Panthers an L, the Bears move on to the Lions. There has been a lot of bragging this year, around the league and particularly on NFL-related sites about the Lions. Frankly, I don’t believe the hype yet. Having made two very solid comebacks against the Vikings and Cowboys, the Lions still haven’t really been tested yet. The combined records of the teams they’ve faced thus far? 6-10. On the flip-side, the Bears’ opponent’s record is 10-6. Clearly the Lions have only played one “good” team thus far this year, the Buccaneers. And they won that game by a touchdown.
Look, I’m damned tired of hearing about how awesome the Lions are. These are the fucking Detroit Lions. They of the O for the YEAR record. They of Matt Millen, drafting wide receivers in the first round every year, blah blah blah. Yeah, they’re looking good. But so what. The last time the Lions beat the Bears, Brett Favre was still the QB in Green Bay. Yeah. Basically, I’m here to say this loud and clear: Fuck the Detroit Lions. They are who we thought they were. And we’re not gonna let ’em off the hook, Dennis Green. Not this time. Go ahead and play a shitty half of football, Detroit. I dare you. Think you can come back down 20+ points with the Bears D coming at you play after play? Please. All I gotta say is the Lions better bring it, because if they play crappy in the first half, the Bears will whoop that ass.
Without further ado, here’s the keys to the winning this game for the Bears.
First and foremost, the Bears O-line absolutely has to protect Cutler. Suh, Vanden Bosch, Fairley, and Avril are damned good at getting to the QB. If Martz gets too smart for his own good and doesn’t have Jay getting rid of the ball quickly on passing downs, the Bears will lose this game, and there’s a chance Cutler could be injured. The Lions upgraded their defense, with Fairley starting his first game this year, and having added some playmakers, in Tulloch at LB and Eric Wright at CB. Last year, it was pretty simple setting up to beat the Lions: run the ball, throw screens, and after the run is working, play-action for a big gainer. This year? Maybe not.
The second item on the ACL list of things to do to beat the Lions is running the football. As we all probably noted, our good friend Mike Martz looked like he played the fart game and lost, sitting up in the booth calling running play after running play against the Panthers. Well, guess what “Mad Mike”? Your boy Forte, AKA He Who Must Get Paid, IS the team’s offense. And he’s doing a hell of a job. So incorporate a good mix of runs, let Forte bounce outside, pull the guards, get them in front of him and set him loose. Oh, and a screen pass or 5 would be nice as well.
Thing the 3rd: Everyone is all over Stafford’s Johnson (haha, see what I did there?) this year, and rightly so. However, has Stafford faced a defensive line as good as the Bears this year? No? Hmmm, ok. We’ll see how he does with Peppers, Big Toe, Izzy, Double A, and the rest of the wrecking crew coming full-speed for him. They absolutely must get pressure on Stafford, the kid has a magic arm and fantastic pocket-awareness. Getting to him early before Megatron and the rest of the underrated Lions WR corps can get free in our porous secondary.
4th on my list? The secondary. Peanut is kind of an enigma, in that he’ll flat out suck against a small receiver like Steve Smith, but will play lights out against a bigger receiver like a Randy Moss or Megatron. Which is weird. He’s the most physical DB we have on the team, and frankly, that’s kinda sad. We need these boys to step up and step up strongly because Calvin Johnson is playing like his potential says he can. He’s damned near unstoppable.
And the final thing on my list of 5 obvious things anyone with half a brain knows: Limit turnovers and create turnovers on D. Time of possession in today’s league doesn’t mean shit. It’s all about minimizing your turnovers and maximizing your opponent’s turnovers. And the Bears must do this…AND FRIGGING SCORE A TD when they do.
Bear down, Bear nation! I expect a *gasp* SHOCKING result this week:
Bears 27, Lions 13
Yes, that’s right, I feel that strongly about this game. You heard it hear first, Bears will make the Lions “look sloppy” and as a result, the media will call it “an off game” for the Lions and say the Bears “got lucky” again.