The undefeated Chicago Bears head up to Detroit to face the 2-1 Lions on Sunday.
The Bears have looked impressive in wins over Cincinnati, Minnesota and Pittsburgh. The Lions on the other hand had a slip up against the Arizona Cardinals, otherwise we could be talking about another 3-0 team in the NFL.
The Bears won both meetings last year, 13-7 at Soldier Field and 26-24 at Ford Field. The meeting at Ford Field was Lovie Smith’s final game as Bears head coach.
A key match-up to watch on Sunday will be the Bears revamped offensive line against the Lions ferocious pass-rush, which includes former Bear Israel Idonije. Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are the stars on that defensive line which will continue to test rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills. Both have answered the bell against 3 ferocious defensive lines so far on the year, and Bear fans hope they are up to the challenge again this week.
Another match-up that has garnered league wide attention is Charles Tillman against Calvin Johnson. While the Bears have held Johnson in check for the most part over his career, he is an elite player and has the ability to rack up over 100 receiving yards easily, regardless of who is covering him.
Both quarterbacks have made improvements so far on the season, with Jay Cutler having a 95 passer rating, which would be the highest of his career if the season ended today. Matthew Stafford has a 99 passer rating, and a large chunk of that can be attributed to new backfield mate Reggie Bush. Bush has been a positive influence on the Lions, and has added a new dimension to their offense. Even though Bush didn’t play last week, Joique Bell did an adequate job filling in for Bush.
Former Illni running back Mikel Leshoure was a healthy scratch for the first two games and has been the odd man out in the Lion running back rotation.
Coach Marc Trestman has an interesting take on a division “rivalry” and he believes that no one game is more important than another. While that is a good theory, hopefully the Bears understand how important it is to get a winning record against divisional opponents. The Bears have been 3-3 in divisional games for each of the past two seasons.
Trestman also said that he believes that the season begins anew each week, with the Bears being 0-0 with 13 games to go. Hopefully the Bears exploit weak match ups and hold their own against Detroit’s elite players to head back to Chicago 4-0, with a match up against the Saints awaiting them.