Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Once again, the Lions have a ton of talent on this side of the ball. The problem so far? They are not playing with the intensity at the beginning half of the regular season games that we saw last year or even during the preseason.
That doesn't mean they haven't been effective at all, it just means they seem to have trouble getting started, just as the offense has. The Lions are ranked third in the NFL (first in NFC North) in defense against total yards allowed. So far this season, other teams have only been able to score an average 19 points per game against the Lions.
With as many gashing yards as it seems other running backs have been able to get on the Lions defense, they have only allowed one rushing TD. In comparison, the secondary have allowed five passing TDs this season.
Priority number one for the Lions defense has to be to get to QB Jay Cutler. Cutler has been very efficient against the Lions. In his five contests with them so far, he has thrown for 1,043 yards and nine TDs. If the defense can remove this option than all he has are his running backs. Containing the running game won't be easy since Cutler has Matt Forte' and Marion Barber on his side but if the Lions can force the Bears' offense to become one-dimensional, they will be very happy with that.
Ndamukong Suh talks about forcing Cutler to become one-dimensional too but his take is that they need to focus on the running game:
I definitely think the Bears are going to try to run the ball, and they’re smart for that. They probably know that crowd noise is going to have a big effect for Jay Cutler to be in passing situations, but they can be in pretty solid run situations and run downhill. We understand as a defense; we go into every single game wanting to shut down the run and make them a one-dimensional team. Our crowd can put that much more into the noise factor and get them into passing situations where we can go back there, hit Cutler and get a lot of sacks.
They definitely have some big weapons. (Matt) Forte, (Devin) Hester and you can’t forget Cutler. What a lot of people don’t know is that he creates a lot of plays with his feet and he can hurt you if you let him out of the pocket, as well as with his arm. We just need to be able to contain those guys [...]
I am not going to argue with Suh's point. He's too big and he knows the game better than I do, but statistically the Lions have kept a scoring advantage by keeping the backs out of the endzone. In the end, it doesn't matter what the Lions defense does or how they do it, it just matters that it gets done.
Based on how hungry they are and having been beat by the Bears twice last year, I don't believe they will be denied this time.