Friday, December 3, 2010
We all remember the Bears' first matchup with the Lions--the ol' "did not possess the ball through the process of the catch" or whatever. All I know is I narrowly avoided a heart attack and the Bears narrowly avoided a loss that could have potentially changed the entire course of their season.
The Lions may get running back Jahvid Best back for Sunday's game, but backup quarterback Shaun Hill is out after breaking a finger on his throwing hand. Enter third-stringer Drew Stanton. He was forced into action against the Giants in Week 6 and played decently: 19-for-34 for 222 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, and he ran three times for 30 yards. Nevertheless, the Bears catch yet another break; Hill had thrown for over 300 yards three times this season and the Lions have been running a relatively efficient offense. But just as the Bears caught a Dolphins team with Tyler Thigpen behind center and an Eagles team without cornerback Asante Samuel, they'll now face a banged up Lions team with a chance to go to 4-0 against the NFC North.
The Bears have won five straight against the Lions since losing in October of 2007.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Don't get trapped. Trap games do exist. We saw it with the Steelers just last week--they had to play the lowly Bills before a huge divisional showdown against the Ravens. Though they did pull out the win, they barely pulled it out. The Bears had a huge victory against the Eagles last week, have everyone in the country telling them they're "for real," and know they have a big game against the Patriots next week. But there's no room for error here--you have to win divisional games and you have to beat a two-win team if you want to stave off the Packers and win the NFC North.
Stop Suh. I don't think there's anyone on the Bears offensive line who can block Ndamukong Suh. Hell, I don't know if there's an offensive lineman in the NFL who can block Suh. But the extent to which they can slow him down and keep him out of the backfield might determine how successful the Bears offense is on Sunday.
Turnovers. The Lions were able to keep it close in Week 1 for four reasons: Cutler interception, Cutler fumble, Olsen fumble, Forte fumble. There's no doubt the Bears have more talent than the Lions, and if they can win the turnover battle (or at least not lose it), they should win the scoreboard battle as well.