Chicago Bears Preview Week 4: Lions (1-2) @ Bears (2-1)
Have you ever seen two teams infused with more confidence facing off in a divisional battle then these two? The Chicago Bears are coming off of consecutive wins, but the two wins were against the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks on their own turf. The Lions are also coming off of a win. Yes those infamous 0-16 Lions!
Both teams will be fighting tough in this game, and they have no reason not to. With a win, the Bears could solidify themselves as real competitors in the NFC North. The Lions win, and they follow the path of last year's Miami Dolphins; starting 0-2 but grabbing a string of wins following.
The Bears offense has had a flip-flop of sorts. Last year, the offense ran through rookie running back Matt Forte. This year, newly acquired quarterback Jay Cutler has played excellently. Much was made over his 4 interception outing at Lambeau Field in Week 1, however many analysts failed to point out that Jay Cutler took over that game in the second half. For the past 10 quarters Jay has played like a Pro Bowl quarterback.
However, Matt Forte seems to be going through a sophomore slump, as his 66 yard outing against the struggling and injury ridden Seahawks defense was his best of the year. Much needs to be made of that game, because for the first time this season it seemed that Lovie Smith and Ron Turner were committed to getting Forte involved in the offense.
As long as the Bears get up by a touchdown or two, they should be able to pound the ball down Detroit's throat. Detroit went up early on both the Vikings and the Redskins, meaning both teams had to abandon the run to reclaim the lead. The Vikings as a result only got to give the ball to Adrian Peterson 15 times, however he averaged 6.1 yards per carry as he ran over the Lions defense upon Minnesota getting ahead.
When the Lions got down by a large amount against the Saints in Week 1, Saints RB Mike Bell came out of nowhere to run for nearly 150 yards. The formula to run on the Lions? Score early.
The Detroit Lions offense is the team's strongest point; after a horrendous start to the season, rookie quarterback and number one overall pick Matthew Stafford has become much more conservative with the ball, throwing two touchdowns and two interceptions since his three-pick opening performance.
Stafford has been given some weapons to work with as well, namely physical freak Calvin Johnson, former number two overall pick out of Georgia Tech. Johnson has 13 receptions for 190 yards and a touchdown so far this season and has shown he has connected with Stafford and has earned Stafford's trust.
However, the Lions will be awaiting injury news on two key players on both sides of the ball; second year running back Kevin Smith and linebacker Ernie Sims. Smith ran for over 100 yards against the Redskins before coming out in the third quarter because of a shoulder injury.
It is unknown how serious the injury is, but the Lions do have veteran Maurice Morris ready to step in if Smith is out. However, losing Kevin Smith would deeply hinder the Lions offense.
Linebacker Ernie Sims might return for this game, however his shoulder injury was said to make him miss a decent chunk of time. So, already having missed the Lions win over the Redskins last week, Sims is unlikely to return, although I wouldn't count him completely out just yet.
Prediction: Bears 31 Lions 17
The Lions have enough firepower on offense to put up some points, though, the Bears offense can as well. The Bears are playing at home after a tough road win over the Seahawks and should be full of confidence. There's no worries about looking ahead to a difficult opponent, as the Bears go on a bye the next week. To be quite honest, there's no reason the Bears should lose this game.
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