Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions: Preview
Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions Monday Night Preview
The Chicago Bears are the top team in the NFC North. The Detroit Lions are sitting at 2-3 at the bottom of the division. Many experts believed that this would be the year the Lions established themselves as one of the league's best teams, and to this point, they've been a huge disappointment.
It couldn't happen to a nicer group of fans or players either. Last season, I went to Ford Field to see the Bears play the Lions, and the fans were terrible. I guess when you're not used to winning, that comes with the territory. But to act like they're the greatest fans in football with little history to back it up becomes a problem.
As far as I'm concerned, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz is clearly on the hot seat. If the Lions fail to make the playoffs, he will be held accountable. Plus, the teams seems to be making headlines for many off-the-field issues as well. He seems to have little to no control of his team, and it shows up on a weekly basis.
Despite the record and lack of semblance to the squad, one has to recognize the talent up-and-down this roster. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are still a dangerous combination. Defensively, Ndomukong Suh still commands respect. When Nick Fairley finally gets his act together, these two potentially will make one of the league's premier defensive interiors. But both gentlemen seem to enjoy flirting with the law.
On the other side of the field, things are looking good for the Bears. At 4-1 and playing solid football, the Bye Week came at not the best of time for the Bears. While it allows players like Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers to get a little healthier, it takes away from some of their mojo. That being said, life is good for the Bears.
Here are some of my thoughts on the game. I'd love to hear what you think. You can hit me up on Twitter @ChicagoBearJew and Hastag #RML for some good discussion.
Many fans don't like Smith. They think he's too calm. I, for one, think he's a fine coach. If you want a maniac on the sidelines that makes your franchise look pathetic, look no further than the other sideline with Schwartz. Smith's team responds well to his style, and he saves his frustrations for behind closed doors. If you don't think it's effective, look at what the Bears did in the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars. I may not always agree with his decisions, but I appreciate the way he conducts himself as a coach.
The words "Suh" and "overrated" seem to be commonplace these days. His production is way down, and his off-the-field issues are taking most of the headlines (OK, his on-the-field antics aren't exactly clean either). That said, he still has talent. He'll be looking for a big game on Monday night, and if he doesn't cause another hit-and-run accident between now and then, perhaps he will deliver.
The Bears need to run to the edges. The Lions are very strong on the defensive line, so Matt Forte needs to take advantage of the weaker linebackers and secondary. Look for him to get to the edges on screen passes and outside runs. I'm thinking this will be a huge game for Forte, so start him in your fantasy leagues.
He may not be the best looking guy in the world, but Stafford has a lot of talent. With Megatron, the Lions have one of the league's top passing attacks. I know Johnson's numbers are down, but he is very dangerous. Stafford's health is always an issue, but when he is on the field, there's no questioning his talent.
Jay Cutler & Brandon Marshall
Stafford to Johnson is a dangerous combination, but Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall aren't exactly chopped liver either. As the two get reunited, there chemistry and production keeps rising. This is a lot of fun for us Bears fans to watch.