The Bears are walking into a difficult, difficult situation Monday night. Mike Francesa has talked about it on WFAN and I think he’s right: the Lions and their fans will see this primetime affair, against the Chicago Bears, as their “coming out party”. The Bears will be walking into a maelstrom of emotion as the Motor City plans to revs its engines and announce to the national football audience, “This is our time.”
I don’t think it is.
WHY DO I LIKE THE CHICAGO BEARS THIS WEEK?
- I always like the Chicago Bears.
- I think the Lions have a reckoning coming. They have not been outplayed in the first halves of their last two games. They have been blown out. They have been dominated. And they’ve worked their way back into these games based upon two elements: (1) Bad coaching and quarterback play from their opponents. Les Frazier inexplicably put a 20-point lead on the shoulders of McNabb over Adrian Peterson and Tony Romo was disgraceful down the stretch in Dallas.
- (2) Calvin Johnson. Have you seen the catches he made to beat Dallas? Both of them were jump balls in the end zone. On one he was blanketed by a corner. On the other he was surrounded by three defensive backs. If the ball is in the air and Johnson can see it, he’s going to catch it. You can double team him with Revis and Deion and he’s putting up triple-digit yards and a pair of scores.
- The other advantage the Lions have Monday night is their front four’s ability to rush the passer. This is concerning but the Bears have played their two finest offensive games, both as a line and as a unit, against 4-3 defenses with good pass rushers. I think that continues.
- Look for the Bears to keep the terrific Tyler Clutts on the field as a safety measure against Suh and hand the ball to Forte/Barber 30+ times. If they get the run game to be productive, the back end of the Lions defense is sub-mediocre. Plays can be made downfield.
- Devin Hester’s season had been building to the Carolina game. He was steps from breaking one throughout the first quarter of the season. Teams will begin paying attention to him again now and he’ll start wreaking havoc on opposing game plans. Hester’s had some lethal evenings indoors.
- The Bears know that stopping Calvin Johnson from getting his is just not something anyone on their roster is capable of doing and will commit this week to stopping the run. I think pressure on Urlacher, Briggs and Roach will lead to them doing it.
- When they do, the front four must pressure Stafford. If he’s going to complete passes to Johnson and Pettigrew, the Bears can’t let those plays be thirty and forty yarders. The reason Steve Smith was able to find all those spaces in the zone was twofold: no pressure and Cam Newton’s escapability. Stafford ain’t going to make people forget Houdini with his escaping. He’s a pocket guy. Julius Peppers has to make that pocket a frightening place to be. Stafford’s had trouble surviving these Bears games. Let’s keep the trend going.
- I think the Lion that wins the game is a Nittany one. Robbie Gould on a late field goal.
Chicago Bears 26, Detroit Lions 24