When the Chicago Bears square off against division rivals the Detroit Lions this weekend, many are expecting the Bears to run away with it. Call me pessimistic, but I am not falling for that one.
I have been a Bears fan all my life and what I have noticed over the past few years is that the Bears have a tendency to play down to the Lions level.
Now, I am not saying they will lose this game, but I would be very surprised if the Bears ran away with it, especially considering how the Bears have played them recently.
And you know what, let me rant for a minute...
It really isn't just the Lions I am talking about here, there are too many examples of the Bears playing down to worse teams.
Take this past Sunday's game against the Seahawks. Seattle was missing several starters on both the defensive and offensive side of the ball including: QB Matt Hasselbeck, T Walter Jones, MLB Lofa Tatupu, WLB LeRoy Hill, and CB Josh Wilson.
I know, I know, the game was at Qwest field, the loudest stadium in the NFL, but regardless, this game should not have been as close as it was. The Bears have suffered zero major injuries to the offensive starters (knock on wood) and they should have run an injured Seahawks defense into the ground.
But they didn't. They squeaked out a win.
It happened last year as well, like their loss to the Bucs, and the year before that, such as the win over the Chiefs. The Bears just sometimes decide not to get amped for a game and it bites them in the butt!
But I digress...
Let us look back on the past four meetings between the Bears and the Lions starting with the most recent:
November 2, 2008: Bears win 27-23
The Bears inched out a victory after being down 23-13 at halftime. The Lions were in the midst of an eight game losing streak and were starting Dan Orlovsky at quarterback. And I know there will be those who will talk about Kyle Orton getting hurt in that game, but the Bears were losing 23-10 when Orton left the game. Not to mention that the only reason it didn't go into overtime was because the Lions had MISSED an extra point earlier so they had to go for the touchdown as opposed for the field goal at the end of the game. U-G-L-Y.
October 5, 2008: Bears win 34-7
The one blowout, the Bears and Kyle Orton dominated the game jumping out to a 31-0 lead before the Lions managed to get a Kevin Smith touchdown midway through the third quarter. Props to Charles Tillman for a pick six in that game.
And the previous year...
October 28th, 2007: Lions win 16-7
The Bears, despite a big win against the Eagles in the previous week, played simply miserable and took a bad loss to the Lions. Now I realize that was when the Lions were 5-2...but come on! Brian Griese threw four interceptions, including three that were picked off in the red zone. And the Bears let John Kitna, Kevin Jones, and the "amazing" Lions defense beat them. Give me a break.
September 30, 2007: Lions win 37-27
The Bears were fresh off a NFC Championship season, but then started the year 1-2. However, faced with the Lions in week four, it should have been an easy win, right? WRONG! The Bears allowed 34 fourth quarter points and lost...I was completely speechless. I didn't even realize that was possible. Just the memory of that game hurts.
So there you have it, the Bears are .500 the past two years against the Lions. THE LIONS! So for this reason, I am not promising a blowout. Shoot, I am not even promising a victory.
With the holes that the Bears cover-two scheme has, look for Matthew Stafford to hit Calvin Johnson and Bryant Johnson early and often. If the Lions can get some offensive momentum going in the first quarter, the Bears will more than likely be abandoning the run and playing catch up, AGAIN.
Should the Bears win this game? Yes. But is there a chance they will stoop down to level the playing field? I certainly wouldn't bet against it.