Bears vs. Lions Pregame Analysis
Who would have thought four games into the 2011 season the Bears (2-2) would be traveling to Detroit to face an undefeated Lions (4-0) team? We all knew the Lions would be much improved this season, but ranking in the top 11 in PPG, total yards, and passing yards was not something I expected. From a spectator perspective, the highlights that Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford are providing are a bit frightening, and there's no doubt Detroit is licking its chops over the opportunity to avenge a stolen win in Chicago last year. At this point I am not willing to say this is a must win for the Bears, but it is a pivitol game that will shift momentum within the division. It will also begin to mold an outlay of what is to come in the NFC North this year. Thus far the Bears have been winning ugly, and a statement win over Detroit on the road would be tremendous. Strong NFC North Once again the Chicago Bears are having a year where our fate largely relies on the play of our defense/special teams. We have seen this movie before and it has ended with playoff berths, but without offensive production each week is a nailbiter. For the first time in a while our division has three very strong teams in it. Aaron Rodgers is all grown up and plowing through opponents with ease, while Matthew Stafford is staying healthy and becoming the leader he was predicted to be. Usually the NFC North is dominated by two teams. Often times the two non-contenders would fade relatively early. This is no longer the reality. The NFC North is a three headed monster now. Our offense needs to continue to answer the call week after week or face the consequences of not reaching the post season. If it means continuing to abandon the air game and pound the ball on the ground then so be it. The 17 passes attempted by Jay Cutler last week may have been the fewest of his career, yet we came out with a pretty convincing win. According to ESPN stats & information, when Cutler throws 35+ times the Bears are 2-12, when he throws less than that we are 17-4. Matthew Stafford on the other hand wins games with his arm, he will try to lead his team past a vicious defense this week that has been responsible for two of his four injuries as a pro. Should be fun to watch. Week of Opportunity Week 5 is big for the NFC North. When Monday is over the Bears can be as close as one game back from the division leaders. They can also be three games back of both of the division leaders. The Packers are facing an Atlanta team that is fully capable of winning in the Georgia Dome. Atlanta has only lost once at home with Matt Ryan under center, unfortunately that one time was against Green Bay last year in the NFC playoffs. If the Lions take this game at home and the Packers win our Bears will really be in a hole come Tuesday. The Lions are being given the opportunity to play on Monday Night Football for the first time in ten years, they will surely be pumped up for this one. Minnesota is facing an Arizona team that is playing bad football, and we can say the Vikings are all but out if they were to lose this week. The NFC North teams have been handed relatively easy schedules this year so with three teams contending for the NFC North title these divisional games will play a vital role in the playoff picture. It would be nice to get this road win before a lowly Viking team comes to Soldier Field on October 16th. As always I feel that this game will ultimately fall on the Bears' clutch defense and special teams play.
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