5 important Matchups to Watch in Bears and Lions Game.
5 important Matchups to Watch in Bears and Lions Game
The Chicago Bears come out of the bye week against the Detroit Lions; a division rival game where both teams simply don’t like each other. Who can forget Ndamukong Suh forearm to the back of the head of Jay Cutler a couple years back; Suh ripping off Cutler’s helmet in last year home meeting, Lance Briggs drilling Calvin Johnson over the middle, and the bench clearing brawl after Matthew Stafford cheap shot on D.J. Moore.
The Bears and Lions are probably not on the same level of rivalries as the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, but it’s not too far off. The Lions have forever been the division’s basement dweller until their breakthrough season last year. Some in the Bears organization might feel that if it wasn’t for key injuries to Cutler and Matt Forte, the Lions would have been on the outside looking in last season.
The Bears and Lions will renew the rivalry tonight. Coming off last season first playoff appearance since 1999, the Lions have gotten off to a rough start in the 2012 campaign. It seems as if the Lions flaws from last year are going against them this year.
They haven’t been consistent running the football and most times abandoning it. This is leading to teams taking away the vertical passing attack; forcing Stafford to dink and donk his way down field. Their offensive line has also been a liability, which sort of explains why they currently rank 19th in the NFL in rushing yards and 18th in yards per rush.
The new problems this season have been their lack of pass rush to go along with existing old problems they have in the secondary.
At the end of the day, the Lions still have enough talent to win tonight and turn their season around. The Bears can’t overlook them or else they will more than likely suffer their second loss of the season.
As the game approaches, here are five match-ups to keep an eye on in this Monday night NFC North showdown.
Brandon Marshall vs. Chris Houston
Marshall has been on a tear this season for the Bears, catching 35 balls for 496 yards and three touchdowns. After struggling against the Green Bay Packers in week two, offensive coordinator Mike Tice has moved Marshall around to avoid team’s bracket covering him.
The Lions like bringing safety Louis Delmas in the box, so Marshall will see some one-on-one coverages against Houston. Houston is a pretty decent corner, but asking him to cover one of the best WR’s in the league throughout the game is a tough task. Marshall should dominate this match-up if the Lions are not bracketing him.
Gabe Carimi vs. Cliff Avril
The Lions defensive line has struggle this season to get pressure on the quarterback this season. Carimi vs. Avril should be an interesting match-up because Avril hasn’t struggled to get to the QB, while Carimi has had problems in the pass protection department.
This is probably Carimi biggest test of the season against a highly skilled pass rusher from the left defensive end position in Avril. Carimi has been the team’s best run blocker, but you can argue that he’s been the team’s worst pass protector.
A good performance against Avril could be the confidence Carimi needs going forward into the season.
J’Marcus Webb vs. Kyle Vanden Bosch
Staying on the offensive line, Webb will have a chance to redeem himself against Vanden Bosch. In the first meeting last year, Vanden Bosch overwhelmed Webb, resulting in Webb drawing handful of penalties.
In the second meeting, Webb got a lot of help so you couldn’t really give him full credit for shutting down Vanden Bosch.
This time around you would like to see Webb hold his own against Vanden Bosch without much help. Webb has the potential to be a solid left tackle and the past three games he has shown the flashes of that. It’s time for him to take that next step against a high motor DE that will make him earn his paycheck.
Henry Melton vs. Stephen Peterman
Stephen Paea should command double teams, which should leave Melton in one-on-one opportunities against the struggling right guard Peterman. Melton leads the team in sacks with 4.5 and other than those sacks have been getting constant pressure on opposing QB’s.
Against the run; Melton this season has shown better consistency staying gap discipline, knowing his assignment, and using his explosiveness and athleticism to make plays in the backfield.
If Melton is getting the one-on-one opportunities; he has to take advantage of them against an inferior opponent.
Charles Tillman vs. Calvin Johnson
Tillman has had great success against arguably the best WR in the league. The most recent performance being last year at Soldier Field, where Tillman held Johnson to a very quiet seven catches for 81 yards. Johnson is fourth in the league in passing yards with 558, but he only has one touchdown through six weeks of the season.
I expect the Bears to bracket Johnson when he’s on the outside, but Tillman will more than likely shadow him throughout the game. It will be an interesting match-up to keep an eye, because it could likely set the tone throughout the game.