Friday, January 1, 2010

Bears will try to end season on a positive note

When the Lions beat the Redskins in Week 3, they turned a corner. After all, any kind of win over any kind of team, provided it ends a 19-game losing streak, is a big one. With the monkey finally off their back, Matt Millen gone, and a solid rookie quarterback behind center, it looked like they might return to some semblance of decency.

But that's a corner they haven't quite turned yet. The Lions lost their next six games, beat the Browns in a 38-37 thriller, then lost their next five games by a combined 98 points. In fairness, Matt Stafford has not played the last three games due to a knee injury, and has been placed on injured reserve (meaning his season is over). Coach Jim Schwartz has gone back and forth between has-been Daunte Culpepper and never-been Drew Stanton in Stafford's absence.

The Bears lit up Detroit for 48 points in their first meeting in Week 4, winning 48-24 with a dominant second half. With the AFC playoff picture anything but settled, and four teams vying for the 2 seed in the NFC, not many people will be tuned in to see the Bears' second matchup with the Lions. Neither team has much to play for, but it would be nice to see the Bears end the season on a high note after a big win over the Vikings last week.


Give Forte a chance. He's had just one 100-yard game this season. Who was it against? (Pause to give readers chance to answer ...) That's right, the Lions. In fact, Forte piled up 121 yards on just 12 carries back in Week 4. The Lions allow 125 rushing yards per game, and Forte is actually still within shouting distance of a 1,000-yard season (granted, he'd have to shout
pretty loudly--he needs 172 yards).

Get Cutler out of the pocket. This one's courtesy of the Trib's Dan Pompei, who points out that Cutler's career passer rating is 114.3 outside the pocket versus 79.3 in the pocket. In one of his best games of the year this past Monday night, he was 6-for-7 for 93 yards (and one interception) when throwing from outside the pocket.

Shut down the run. Maurice Morris, the former Seahawk who has assumed the role of the primary running back after Kevin Smith suffered an injury, has essentially had one great game and one terrible game. With neither Drew Stanton nor Daunte Culpepper having had much success replacing Stafford, the Bears may as well load the box early and shut down the running game, therefore putting the onus on the Lions' unproductive passing game.

Want it. I know, that's pretty cheesy, but the fact is, neither team has much to play for here in Week 17. It can be easy to lose focus when you can see relaxation and warm vacation destinations in your near future, but as long as the Bears come out with a true desire to win, their superior ability and athleticism should enable them to prevail one last time as they head into the offseason.

No comments:

Post a Comment