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NFL Week 1: Julius Peppers Is The X-Factor For Bears-Lions

Bleacher Report Correspondent ISeptember 10, 2010

CHICAGO - AUGUST 28: Julius Peppers #90 of the Chicago Bears rushes past Levi Brown #75 of the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 28, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Earlier this week, I wrote that I believe that not only the Detroit Lions are a better team then the Chicago Bears (blasphemy!), but that they will beat the Bears this weekend to start the season.

My reasoning lies in the fact that I believe the Lions are sneakily talented on offense and that they could put close to 30 points on the Bears D.

For the record, in terms of the Bears offense, they will score a good amount on Detroit unless Suh completely—and I mean completely and utterly—takes over the game, which is not very likely. Unfortunately, the Bears don't have the offensive firepower of the Packers or Colts, so they won't blow Detroit out of the water. Detroit doesn't have a very good defense this year, which should limit them. Although they are on the right track if Suh performs as expected.

Back to the Bears defense: If they expect to contend and win this game, Julius Peppers has to have a monster game.

Not to say that he won't, because he is one of the more talented defensive ends in the game, but I'm still slightly worried because defensive linemen always have games where they disappear. Look at Jared Allen last night at New Orleans. He was a non-factor because the Saints doubled him and didn't allow him to get much pressure.

The Lions will try to do the same to Peppers. It's not easy to stop a man of his caliber, but it can be done. It will be up to Peppers to fight off these double-teams and to get to Mathew Stafford on a consistent basis. He needs to knock Stafford all over the field.

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Why is it important for Peppers to have a dominating game?

It just so happens that Detroit has one of the better wide receivers in the league in Calvin Johnson. Stafford isn't some rookie now. He's a second-year player that could make a huge jump. In fact, if he doesn't get to be one of the top 15 quarterbacks in this league, then I would be surprised. 

I'm frightened of that Stafford-to-CJ combo. It scares me to death.

There is so much possibility to succeed with that. Leads can disappear with one swift, deep play. Our corners aren't exactly Darrelle Revis material, so they will have their hands full with CJ anyways.

It will be that much harder if Stafford has all day to throw. And when you throw in the skill set of RB Jahvid Best, plus TE Brandon Pettigrew, things look pretty murky.

We paid Peppers the big bucks to come here, and although he is one of the better players in the league, I have doubts about how much he can affect a game. What I mean is that sometimes this guy is flying all over the field and knocking QBs to the side lines, and sometimes... he doesn't.

If Peppers dominates, then Chicago can keep it close. But the Lions offense has too much potential for them to sleep on.