When the Lions have the ball…
Stafford will pass early and often; the Lions are putting up 40 passing attempts per game. He’ll mix it up between Megatron and Bush, but don’t be surprised if the Lions and their improved offensive line go right at the Bears defense up the middle, testing a unit that just lost one of their Pro Bowl performers.
Stafford will challenge Bears safeties Major Wright and Chris Conte, who will be relied on to try to keep Johnson under wraps. If they cheat to help on Megatron, it could create lanes underneath for Reggie Bush. If they cheat up to help cover Bush coming out of the backfield, it leaves Charles Tillman and possibly Zac Bowman to deal with Johnson deep.
The Bears have struggled to generate a pass rush, so they’ve been blitzing a lot more under Mel Tucker. Their best chance for success against the Lions will be to drop into that familiar Cover-2 shell and force the Lions to move up and down the field in short bursts before they make a mistake. The Bears will try to rely on their typical defensive formula by taking the ball away. The Bears are tied for second in turnover ratio, but guess what? The Lions are tied for 6th with a +3 turnover rate, so that plan won’t be that easy.
When the Bears have the ball…
The highlight matchup when the Bears have the ball is Kyle Long vs Ndamukon Suh. Long was brought in just for days like today. Long has passed his early tests, but this is a step up in class, especially going into a hostile environment. Jay Cutler will be charged with taking care of the ball and continue doing what he’s been doing.
If the Bears can continue to protect Cutler and keep the Lions pass rush at bay, there will be opportunities to move the ball and put up some points. Forte has been dominant against the Lions in his career, so he should be a difference maker.
The Lions only have 6 sacks thru three games, but it’s about pressure. They will pressure Cutler and try to force him into mistakes with their stout Front- 4.
This sets up as a shootout from where I’m sitting. If the Lions watched last Sunday night’s game, they saw what Antonio Brown did to the Bears’ secondary, so I’m sure they’ll test Peanut Tillman with a steady dose of Megatron. Jay Cutler and the offense will probably need to put up the most points they have all season for a chance to keep up with the Lions offense. The Bears can’t quite keep up with the Lions, who get the edge at home.
Lions 35 – Bears 34
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