It goes without saying that fans in the Motor City are excited for the Lions Week 5 matchup with the Chicago Bears.They have every right to be. Detroit is an impressive 4-0 to start the season.
Lions fans should relish their team's sudden success, but they must also realize that this football team is not as perfect as their record may indicate.
The Chicago Bears present many problems for the Lions, and there are three players in particular who really need to step up their game for Detroit to remain unbeaten.
Jeff Backus has not been as terrible this season as it may appear. His false starts have been an obvious problem (especially when he jumps on back to back plays) but he has largely done a good job of protecting his quarterback.
Jared Allen dominated him and there is no room for argument in that regard, however, DeMarcus Ware's name was not called very often when the Lions played the Cowboys Week 4. When he did get in the backfield it was because Backus was sidelined for a couple of plays.
So if Backus is playing well then why does he need to step up? One reason. Julius Peppers.
Every week of the season the left tackle tasked with blocking Peppers needs to step their game up. That's just how it is when your protecting your QB from one of the most devastating defensive ends in all of football.
The Lions have one of the most talented defensive lines in all of the NFL, and that stands true even with Nick Fairley currently sidelined.
Against the Dallas Cowboys this formidable front was surprisingly quiet for the majority of the game.
The starters had zero sacks (backup Willie Young had a sack) and recorded only one QB hit on Tony Romo. Not exactly the type of numbers that strike fear into the hearts of opponents.
This may of just been a fluke game, or maybe the Dallas offensive line is exceptionally talented. Whatever the reason for the lack of pressure from the front four, this group needs to come to play against Chicago.
Jay Cutler is known for making bad decisions and throwing interceptions. He does those things when he is under pressure. The Lions can be in Cutler's face all day if they play to their ability.
If they do not generate a consistent pass rush then the good version of Jay Cutler will showcase his talents on Monday Night Football, and running back Matt Forte will find success just as he did in Week 4 against the Carolina Panthers.
Jahvid Best was able to avoid a lot of criticism last year as he hid behind a turf toe injury. The team and the fans were patient with him because of his talent and capabilities.
This season he is healthy, and has only shown his abilities in short spurts. Best has been asked to be an every down back in the NFL. This is no easy task, and it has clearly overwhelmed him this season.
Best is currently averaging 3.2 yards a carry and his longest run is for only 19 yards.
Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers he rushed for 72 yards. That is his highest output so far this season.
The Bears will certainly key in on the passing game. Any team would based off of the production of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.
Detroit will be greatly benefited if they can surprise Chicago with a decent rushing attack. This starts with Jahvid Best. As he goes so will the Lions run game.