Sunday’s matchup between the Detroit Lions (4-11) and Chicago Bears (9-6) showcases two teams headed in the wrong direction. The Lions have lost seven straight games and are now playing for pride and draft position. Meanwhile, the Bears have lost five of their last seven games after a 7-1 start. The Bears now need a win in order to have a chance at a spot in the NFL Playoffs.
Earlier this week Bears defensive player Henry Melton added to the NFC North rivalry with some choice words. Melton called the Lions dirty and mentioned cheap shots. Last year when the two teams played, there was a lot of pushing and shoving and almost a brawl.
In this season’s earlier matchup, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh delivered a clean hit on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. The hit put Cutler on the sidelines for part of the game and put Suh at the center of controversy after the game. Players will likely be targeting Suh or Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford in retaliation.
I’m hoping the game doesn’t get scrappy and the Bears should too. As much as the Bears want to show they can beat up on the Lions and teach Suh a lesson, the team ultimately needs a win on Sunday. The Bears defense will be put to the test against the high producing offense of the Lions.
In the last matchup, Calvin Johnson was held to only 34 yards on three receptions, both season lows. Since that Monday Night Football game, Johnson has broke the single season receiving record. Johnson now aims for 2,000 yards in a season, which will benefit fans of a local restaurant chain, and forges forward on a path towards more records.
The Lions will look to limit their turnovers in this matchup with the Bears. Last time around, the team had four turnovers including one by return man Stefan Logan. Turnovers in special teams will hopefully be limited with a new kick returner replacing Logan. Despite the four turnovers, the Lions only lost the first contest 13-7 and even posted more yards than the Bears in the game.
Last week, Johnson broke a NFL record for receiving yards in a season. In Week 17, Stafford will likely break a record. Stafford needs only five pass attempts to break Drew Bledsoe’s 1994 record of 691.
The Lions need a win to get to a 5-11 season, but a win could have a negative impact on their draft position. The team will have top ten pick in the 2012 NFL Draft with a position anywhere from number three to number nine. If the lions lose, they will be guaranteed a top five pick. In my last mock draft, I had the Lions taking a cornerback.
I’m hoping the Lions win this game to end the season on a high note. It would also be a fitting end to hurt the Bears 2012 season as well. Draft position shouldn’t matter and hopefully the Lions are worried about the win and not a top five pick.