Although the Lions lost twice to the Bears in 2010, they controlled the flow of play in both games. In the first meeting, the Lions were directly screwed by a questionable interpretation of the NFL rulebook. The second time, Chicago got the victory fair-and-square, but the Lions entered the fourth quarter in position to win.
This season, the Lions have the upgrades needed to be a better football team than the Bears, as well as a couple of scheduling advantages.
October 10 will mark the first Monday Night Football game in the Motor City since 2001. It signals the Lions official return to relevance on a national scale.
More than anything, this game is an opportunity for the Lions to announce their presence with authority. Knowing how much this team has been kicked around over the past few years, as well as the personality of Jim Schwartz, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Lions (and their fans) will be fired up for this contest.
On the flip side, this is just another division game for the Bears. Sure, they’d like to win it, but there’s really nothing more than that in it for them.
Jay Cutler has been rattled by crowds before, and I predict that it will happen again in Detroit.
The Lions’ second match-up against the Bears sets up as a favorable situation as well.
Chicago will be on a short week after facing the Eagles on Monday night in Week 9. Given the juggernaut that seems to be rising in Philly, that will undoubtedly be a battle for the Bears.
The Lions, on the other hand, will have two weeks to prepare. They face their weakest opponent of the season, Carolina, in Week 11, so there’s no reason for the players or coaches to be looking ahead.
Soldier Field will host two evenly-matched teams on November 13, but I predict that the well-rested Lions will prevail, sweeping Chicago for the first time since 2007.