The Detroit Lions had to absolutely hate the news that came out leading up their game against the Chicago Bears in week 10 of the 2013 NFL season that said that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was planning to suit up sooner than expected. They had to hate it even more as Cutler matched down the field for a touchdown on the Bears’ opening drive.
However, the Lions settled down and actually played solid defense against Cutler and even against running back Matt Forte. They then benefitted down the stretch when Cutler was forced to leave the game once again. It was really Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson that helped lead the Lions to a 21-19 victory over Chicago.
The Lions win on Sunday brings them to a solid 6-3 on the season. More impressively, though, the Lions now hold a one-game lead in the NFC North. It’s easy to say with only seven games remaining that the current division leader is going to win said division, but the Lions have a legitimate chance to run away with the North.
For starters, the two teams that trail them by one game in the standings, the Bears and Green Bay Packers, are both dealing with troubling injuries to their starting quarterbacks that will more than likely negatively affect them going forward. Possibly more in favor of the Lions is their schedule over the last seven weeks of the season. The Lions face only one team with a winning record to finish the season and that team is the Packers in week 13, when it’s uncertain whether Aaron Rodgers will be back.
With the Lions offense and their bend-don’t-break defense, they have a legitimate shot at taking a commanding lead in the division. Obviously the caveat of staying healthy is in play here, but don’t be surprised if, given the circumstances, the Lions emerge as the team coming out of the NFC North.