Nov 13, 2011; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears punt returner Devin Hester (23) returns a punt for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions in the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

Top 5 Matchups for Chicago Bears vs Detroit Lions Monday Night Game

Preparations are in full swing for the Bears to take on the division rival Detroit Lions.  Doesn’t it feel like forever since the Bears beat up on the Jacksonville Jaguars?  It’s nice to head into the game with a 4-1 record atop the NFC North, but this is a “what have you done for me lately” business and there’s no resting on their laurels for the Bears.  It’s time to get that first division win and do it on a national stage after getting embarrassed by the Lions on MNF last season.  Here are the Top 5 matchups I’m looking forward to watching this week.

Devin Hester vs Lions Special Teams

Let’s not beat around the bush – the Lions’ special teams are horrible.  They pretty much single-handedly awarded September’s Special Teams Player of the Month awards to Percy Harvin and Darius Reynaud, a pair of opponents which had return touchdowns against the Lions.  The Lions gave up both kickoff and punt returns in consecutive weeks to the Vikings and Titans.

Hester has looked like he was set to break one over the last couple of weeks.  In fact, his last return touchdown came against the Lions when they visited Soldier Field last season.

Nov 13, 2011; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) is hurried by Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) in the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

Jay Cutler vs Ndamukong Suh

This is sort of the Brett Favre vs Warren Sapp relationship, but with guys who are actually likable.  Just kidding.  This matchup really comes down to pressure.  Suh has given Cutler his fair share of cheap shots in the few matchups between these teams over the last couple of seasons.  Believe it or not, Jay Cutler has posted a very solid 5-1 record vs the Lions since joining the Beloved.

Suh took the league by storm in his rookie season, but lately it seems like he’s been doing more damage on behind the wheel than he has on the field.  If the Bears can keep Suh out of Cutler’s face and give him a clean pocket, Jay should be able to exploit some weaknesses in the Lions secondary.

Cliff Avril vs Gabe Carimi

I usually reserve the Bears offensive line matchup for J’Marcus Webb and he’ll have his hands full with Kyle Vanden Bosch, but let’s give JWebb Nation a break.  Carimi has excelled at run blocking but struggled in pass protection.  The Chicago Bear Jew bears the pressure of being the last Jerry Angelo first round draft pick on the Bears’ roster.

Back to the earlier Cutler points, given some decent time, Jay could have a monster game.  It’s time for big Gabe to take his game to the next level.

Brandon Marshall vs Louis Delmas

Louis Delmas’ return definitely helps the Lions beleaguered secondary, but he’ll have his hands full with Brandon Marshall.  It’s clear the Lions don’t have the cornerbacks to check Marshall, so a lot of the coverage help will come from free safety Delmas.  The game that Marshall struggled, the Packers had him bracketed took away Cutler’s favorite target.

Oct 10, 2011; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) looks for running room after making a catch and being defended by Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman (33) during the third quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

Calvin Johnson vs Peanut Tillman

Megatron has been a mega-bust so far this season.  Trust me, I know, I invested a first round fantasy pick on him, Madden Curse be damned.  Johnson has put up a decent amount of yardage and catches, but he’s struggled to find the end zone with only one touchdown so far this season.  Let’s not let Monday Night be his coming out party.

Tillman is riding high after consecutive weeks with pick-6′s.  Peanut has fared well against Johnson in recent matchups, challenging the big receiver in some physical duals.  I expect that to continue on Monday Night.

What do you think?  Which matchups are you looking forward to?  Which matchup is the key?

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Tags: Brandon Marshall Chicago Bears Jay Cutler Peanut Tillman

  • Dave

    “The Chicago Bear Jew bears the pressure of…” Did you really just refer to Carimi as The Chicago Bear Jew?!

    • BearGogglesOn

      Take it easy…

      Carimi has referred to himself as The Chicago Bear Jew, a takeoff from Inglorious Bastards.

  • Club Life

    One of the main reasons the Lions were able to beat the bear’s last year on MNF was Jahvid Best and the crowd noise in Detroit – Unfortunately for the Lions neither of those two will be a factor, what will be a factor though is Backus if he let’s Stafford get sacked repeatedly this might turn into last years Sunday Night Game in Chicago where Stafford threw more interceptions then any Lions fan wants to remember. Then again if Suh finally wakes up and Fairley plays to his true potential Cutler might be going down – we all know that when Lions play the Bears the ref’s always side with the Bears – ie: (2010) Calvins TD that did not count – (2010) Cutler is a runner Suh shoves him down = 15 yard penalty – that’s just two of many.
    If the Lion’s play hungry like they did last year and they Stafford isn’t afraid to make plenty of deep throws and Calvin keep’s running deep – then I say this game will finish 27 – 21 Lions – if the Lions play like they did against the 49ers then this game will be 36 – 14 Bears.

    • BearGogglesOn

      Let’s clear up a few things:
      1. Although I think the rule is silly, the Calvin “process of the catch” call was made correctly.
      2. Suh nailed Cutler in the back of the head:
      Maybe if he didn’t have the reputation as a headhunter, he could get away with it.
      3. The reason Stafford has been failing to hook up with Calvin has been bracket coverage on Johnson (which the Bears will employ) and Stafford’s poor mechanics. He’s been sailing throws all season. The Bears may let other players on the Lions beat them, but they aren’t going to let Johnson beat them.

      • Club Life

        It was a completed catch ask any nfl analyst – and you see clearly and hear clearly that it was a push – watch that video again. I understand you are a bears fan on a bears page – and just like the seahawks fans are siding with the replacement ref saying it was a dual catch when clearly it was an interception – I can respect sticking by your team no matter what – but when its that blatant – nothing can be said.

        I’ll be the first to admit the Bear’s have had the Lion’s number for many many years – that’s why the real rivalry is Bears / Packers, but the Lions are on the rise.