The Bears have an opportunity Monday night against the Detroit Lions to cement their position on the NFC's top shelf. If they win I have no doubt they'll enter the second half of the 2012 campaign at no worse than 6-2 (preferably 7-1) and be primed to play ballgames in January. I think they do it.
WHY DO I LIKE THE CHICAGO BEARS THIS WEEK?
- I always like the Chicago Bears.
- The Detroit Lions are the 2nd ranked offense in terms of yards-per-game and 12th in points.
- Their defense is 9th in yards-per-game and 24th in points. (One would think this discrepancy has something to do with their porous coverage units on specials.)
- Their always-talking pass rushers have been one of the disappointing units in the sport, registering only 9 sacks thus far this season.
- The biggest statistical advantage the Bears have going in: they are +9 in the turnover battle. Detroit is -1.
TWO GUYS PRIMED FOR BIG NIGHTS
- Julius Peppers is the anchor of the Bears defensive line but he has yet to have one of those "I am unblockable" games. Matt Stafford was forced from the pocket a lot (early) against the Philadelphia Eagles. Let's see if Lions rookie Riley Reiff can handle Pep the way he seemingly handled Jason Babin.
- Devin Hester is one of the biggest Monday Night Football performers in Bears history and he continued that trend with his diving touchdown grab against the Cowboys a few weeks back. I have written that Hester has looked ordinary in the return game thus far in 2011. The Lions are the worst kick covering team in the league. If they send the ball his way, they will pay dearly.
MORE ANALYSIS, PLEASE? SURE.
- The Detroit receiving corps is a nightmare match-up for the Bears and pretty much any other secondary. Calvin Johnson is arguably the best receiver in the sport (unfair to rule out Larry Fitzgerald because he has no QB). Nate Burleson is a solid second option and has had success against Chicago. The tight ends - Tony Scheffler & Brandon Pettigrew - will attempt to own the middle of the field while forcing Brian Urlacher to run sideline-to-sideline. If the Bears don't pressure Stafford consistently, he will move the ball.
- That being said you'd need to look long and hard to find a pair of Bears corners simultaneously playing as well as Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings. If you're going to face Calvin Johnson this is the time to do so.
- The Lions can't run the ball. They try but they can't do it and Mikel Leshoure doesn't seem the kind of back to light up Soldier Field in prime time against a defense playing this well.
- I do think the Lions will do a nice job on the Bears running game. They held Shady McCoy to 1.6 yard per carry. This game will need to be won by Jay Cutler.
- Thrive: It is time for Jay Cutler to have his night. Against this horrendous secondary and with a confident Brandon Marshall, Cutler should be able to have one of those 100+ quarterback rating/300 yards passing nights in front of the home fans.
- Survive. DJ Moore. The Lions starting having a great deal of success by sending Calvin Johnson into the slot and running him across the field. Unless LoveRod decide to pin Peanut to Megatron all night one might expect Moore to be man-to-man with monstrous receiver at several pivotal junctures throughout the game.
What scares me about Detroit is their passing game and defensive lines are capable of getting hot and controlling the pace of a game. But they were beaten by the Eagles and Mike Vick/Andy Reid decided to let them back in the game. No quarterback is better with a big lead than Cutler and I think the Bears win by double-digits.
Chicago Bears 27, Detroit 17
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