Against the Offense
The Bears will be catching a break as Running Back Jahvid Best will miss the game this Sunday with a concussion. This gives the Bears an opportunity to zero in on the Lions passing game which is the strength of the offense. There’s no shutting down 6-5 236 pound Calvin Johnson, but the Bears can do their best neutralizing the WR many know as Megatron.
Simply don't let him attack downfield, and bring the fight to him, and what I mean by this is Charles Tillman (who most likely will draw the assignment) will need to be physical with him at the line of scrimmage; trusting that he has reliable safety help over the top. The Bears corners did a nice job containing receivers Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson and Titus Young, but had a tough night against Lions Tight End Brandon Pettigrew over the middle of the field.
Bears Linebackers Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher along with Nickleback D.J. Moore have to be zone discipline and be ready to make plays over the middle.
This will be another test for Chris Conte who will have the job of preventing any big plays downfield field from Johnson and Young. Major Wright minus the interception did not have a decent game against the Eagles and subbed in and out for Brandon Merriweather on some series. Expect a rotation from those two throughout Sunday's game.
The Bears D-Line didn’t have one of its best games of the year, but a lot has changed over the past month. The starting DE’s are still in place, but the interior D-Line has shuffle around.
Nose Tackle Anthony Adams, who status is still up in the air for this Sunday, has gotten his snaps given to rookie Stephen Paea. Henry Melton who is still the starting under tackle is losing snaps to fellow 3 technique DT Amobi Okoye. No matter who is in, the Bears D-Line has to get after Stafford and force him into some tough throws.
If the Bears can get pressure on Stafford, it should make life easier for the back 7.
Against the Defense
QB Jay Cutler didn’t get an opportunity to test the Lions back 7 mainly because of the sea of Lions D-Linemen following into the Bears backfield. If fans remember in the last meeting, the pressure was mainly coming from the DE’s.
The Lions rotated 4 DE’s throughout the game with the sole purpose to get after the Quarterback. The Lions Wide 9 D-Line formation was an excellent one for the DE’s to use their speed to get around the Tackles and expose the 7 step drops called by Martz.
The Bears line has evolved since that game. Lance Louis has taken over for Frank Omiyale who might not ever see the field again this year because of putrid play. On top of solid play from Louis and the rest of the O-linemen, the Bears have gotten superb play from the Tight Ends in the blocking department.
This should help against DE’s Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril who sole purpose in the Wide 9 is to rush up field. Seal blocks from OT’s and TE’s should give Forte room on the outside to make significant plays in the open field.
There will be opportunities for the Bears to attack the Lions secondary if O-Line gives Jay time. CB Chris Houston is having a great season and could be a candidate for most improve player of the year, but he’s still not a guy that can take away a side of the field. The same goes for Eric Wright.
Jay last Monday night tested one of the more talented secondaries in the league in the Eagles, so he shouldn’t have any hesitation challenging the Lions secondary that’s not at that caliber of talent. The match-up to watch from the skill position is Earl Bennett vs. Nickleback Aaron Berry.
The last time Bennett played against the Lions, he posted a career high in yards with 104. The Bears didn’t have Bennett for the last meeting, but he should help out a lot against the blitz with hot reads and on third down situations
If the Bears want to win this game, gotta to stick to the formula that has gotten them to this 3 game winning streak. Running the football with a dose of Matt Forte and Marion Barber and working the short to intermediate routes should help the Bears move the ball and tired out the Lions defense.
Not a must win game for the Bears, but a win helps a lot as the Bears enter an easy part of the schedule, as oppose to the Lions who have some tough contests going forward.