To be honest, I’m still in shock from the Bears victory over the Packers last night. What a game! Chicago is now in a 3-way tie at 5-3 with Green Bay and the Detroit Lions and each of the three teams has an identical 2-1 division record. The Lions happen to be the subject of this post as they make their way to Soldier Field on Sunday to face our beloved Monsters of the Midway. I already touched on the vast history between these two franchises in my week 4 post, so I thought I’d keep this introduction a bit more current. With the Lions coming off their bye week and the Chicago on a short week after the Monday night game, I think how the Bears handle the emotions stemming from the Green Bay game will be crucial. Can Marc Trestman keep them focused on the upcoming week? Your guess is as good as mine, but we’re about to find out. Let’s get to some phase by phase analysis:
Offense: As incredible as Josh McCown was on Monday, I still think the Bears would be better off having Jay Cutler come back this week. Detroit has a little less than a week to go over tape from the Packers game and try to find holes in McCown’s game. While I didn’t see any, the Lions’ coaching staff get paid a lot of money to be better at that than me. That having been said, I haven’t been very impressed with Detroit’s Defense this season so I think the Bears’ offense should be able to move the ball and put up some serious points. It’s the next phase that troubles me…
Defense: Last time these teams met, Reggie Bush ran all over the Bears. It sounds like Jay Ratliff might play, which would help but from what I saw on Monday night the problem seems to be less bad play from defensive tackles and more terrible run fits from the safety position. I expect the Lions to run nearly at will on the Bears this week. Maybe if Chicago’s offense can get out to a sizable early lead they can force the Lions to throw the ball more, but with Calvin Johnson two weeks removed from a monstrous 329 yard performance against the Cowboys I’m not sure how much that would help. A straight up shoot-out may be the best case scenario for the Bears this week.
Special Teams: What a disappointment. I suppose we’ve been spoiled by Dave Toub for the past decade, but a blocked punt AND a surprise onside kick in the same game? That’s just unacceptable. Speaking of handling emotions, Marc Trestman needs to keep Devin Hester on an emotional upswing. A special teams touchdown could go a long way in this one.
4th Phase: Special shout out to the fans this week, as I expect them to play a fairly large role in this one. Coming off such a big win, I expect the raucous Soldier Field crowd to reach a fevered noise level and make life tough on the Lions’ offense. That having been said, if any of you are reading this, PLEASE be a smart crowd this weekend and be loud when the Lions have and not when the Bears do. Self-imposed false start penalties are not going to help.
What do you guys think? Can the Bears handle the Lions? Sound off in the comment section and let me know!