The Bears face the Detroit Lions on Sunday who roll into Soldier Field on a high. It’s a high that the Lions and their fans haven’t felt for the 19 games prior: it’s called winning. It’s up to the Bears to stop that streak at 1 win and extend the Lions’ consecutive road losing streak going beyond 13.
Funny enough, the last time the hapless Lions (and I love throwing that adjective in front of the Lions whenever possible) won a road game was in Chicago back in 2007, when the Lions beat the Bears 16-7. There’s no way that Jay Cutler and the offense are held to 7 this week. Here are the keys to ensure a victory:
Get off to a fast start
The Bears have been slow starters this season, without any first quarters TD’s. That’s got to change in the long run and no better time to do it than against the Lions. If the Bears can get up a couple of scores early, it will put more pressure on the Lions’ rookie QB and make them more one-dimensional.
Confuse the Lions rookies
Speaking of the Lions rookie QB, Matthew Stafford looked pretty sharp in the Lions win against the Redskins. The Bears defense needs to show him a lot of different looks. Show blitz and back out of it. Through in a couple of corner blitzes. Mix it up to keep him off balance.
Another rookie standout for the Lions has been safety Louis Delmas, who was September’s defensive rookie of the month. By all accounts, he’s lived up to his his pre-draft grades. It’s up to Jay Cutler to make this guy look bad. Sell those play-action fakes, pump left and go right. One would have to think that Cutler should be able to take advantage of this matchup for some deep balls.
Don’t panic about the running game
A lot has been made about the Bears struggles with the running game. I say, let’s not panic by trying to force it. Should the Bears be running it better? Of course. But with three new starters along the O-line, it takes a while to get the timing down. A split second one way or the other creates the seam that Matt Forte needs. Give it time and it will come together.
Don’t take anything or anyone for granted
These are not the same Lions as 2008′s 0-16 squad, having turned over more than half their roster. Never underestimate your opponent, especially one that has nothing to lose.
I hate to call an October game a must win, but this one sure smells like it and here’s why. If the Bears lose, they head into the bye week looking up at the hapless Lions. They’d be tied with 2-2 records, but we would trail the head-to-head tie-breaker. That cannot and will not happen.
Bears roll 38-20