The NFC North is suddenly the most exciting division in the NFL, and after much entertainment and a three-way tie, the Detroit Lions are mathematically in first place heading to Soldier Field for a must-win game.
The Chicago Bears and Lions live a similar scenario after orchestrating tremendous wins during their last games; Chicago produced an admirable upset led by quarterback Josh McCown at Lambeau Field, and the Lions defeated the Dallas Cowboys under the command of Matt Stafford in the final seconds of the game.
The Lions must defeat the Bears this weekend because they are producing serious offensive statistics and a winning chemistry that is beginning to brew. Even though Jim Schwartz knows his team is in first place, it is unfortunate for the Lions that the NFC playoff scenario favors the Carolina Panthers for a postseason appearance.
Here are a few reasons why the Lions will defeat their division rivals again. Reggie Bush‘s performance was outstanding, totaling 139 yards rushing and one touchdown during their previous meeting. We can anticipate another successful production from Bush and Joique Bell.
The good news in this coming matchup is that the Lions have a healthy and rested Calvin Johnson in the lineup, and Nate Burleson‘s status returns to questionable, giving Stafford more targets down field. Megatron’s knee limited him greatly during the start of the season, but he is now healthy, coming off a bye week and also a record-breaking performance against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Lions’ offensive line is ranked second in the league in sacks allowed, so expect Stafford to go to work comfortably in the pocket.
The Panthers play against the San Francisco 49ers and are expected to lose; Detroit needs to take advantage of the this and win. Finally, the Bears are faced with a quarterback dilemma and should they decide to start Jay Cutler, his mobility will be limited as the Lions’ front four will be after him all afternoon. The last time these two teams met, the Lions’ defense intercepted Cutler three times, so expect the rivalry and intensity of Sunday’s game to swing in Detroit’s favor.