Together with the Packers, the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions are currently entangled in a three-way tie at the top of the NFC North. On Sunday Marc Trestman’s team has the opportunity to break that tie and stake their claim. Aiding them in that endeavor? Quarterback Jay Cutler, who will be returning from a groin injury. With that in mind, let’s start this Gameday Preview!
(5-3) Detroit Lions at
(5-3) Chicago Bears
What you need to know about the Lion franchise:
They’re the most disappointing Detroit sports team, by far. They’ve been mediocre or terrible for decades. They’re known lately for teasing a successful season early, only to implode in legendary fashion. I love watching this team suck.
Matthew Stafford, who has the arm of Brett Favre and the footwork of a three-year old Labrador puppy. He gets excited and sometimes piddles on the field or he manages to whip it 50 yards for a score. His mechanics get unbelievably sloppy for a former number one overall pick and he throws it more than anyone in the league. He has all the talent in the world, but makes some terrible decisions as well. He’s in the middle of a solid season with 16 TD’s, only 6 INT’s, and over 2600 yards.
Offensive Player to Watch
This should really be titled “Offensive Player to Watch Not Named Calvin Johnson.” Because we all know how good Megatron can be if you don’t cover him. He’s the best receiver in the game. With all the time off Charles Tillman has gotten, he should be healthy enough to cover Johnson (with some safety help over the top). Tillman, a bigger corner, usually matches up well with Johnson. When the Bears lost to Detroit earlier in the year, it was running back Reggie Bush that gave the Chicago defense fits. Corralling Bush on the edges will keep Detroit from easily convertible third downs and put their offense on the sidelines.
Defensive Player to Watch
Ndamukong Suh. Easily. With Cutler coming back from injury, Kyle Long will be tasked with preventing Suh from planting Cutler on his backside. Pressure up the middle is difficult to throw against and makes the quarterback jittery in the pocket.
This game started with Detroit as a four point favorite when Josh McCown was the starter. Since Cutler’s insertion into the starting line-up, the line moved to even odds. It’s a pick ’em!
How Can Chicago Win?
Keep turnovers and negative plays to a minimum. Maintain defensive pressure on Stafford off the edges. (That will be a more difficult task if Shea McClellin’s hamstring injury keeps him out of action.) As much as you’d like to see the defensive hold strong, the Bears might just have to win a shoot-out at Soldier Field.
I have a bad feeling about this game. Particularly when it comes to the defense. The Bear offense can put up 30, but Detroit might go ballistic. I hope I’m wrong.
How many heart attacks will Joe suffer?
Anytime a defender gets within three inches of Jay Cutler, my heart will palpitate.
And this Gameday Preview is in the books! I hope we all have a reason to be happy on Sunday. Bear Down and Happy Jay Cutler Day!