Week 7: Detroit Lions At Chicago Bears
- QuarterbackMatthew Stafford continues to throw the ball for big yardage, but he has not been finding the endzone the way head coach Jim Schwartz and Lions fans expect. Stafford has only thrown four TD passes in his first five games while tossing five interceptions. Stafford caught fire in the come-from-behind win against Philadelphia and the Lions are hoping that game represents a return to form.The Bears have full confidence in Jay Cutler. He has one of the strongest arms in the league and he couples that with a quick release. Cutler is often maligned for his body language, but he puts the ball on the money and can go downfield with accuracy. Cutler can buy time for his receivers to get open with his quick feet.
- OffenseThe Lions have plenty of big-play weapons on the offensive side, led by superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson. While he has caught 35 passes for 558 yards, he only has one TD and that needs to change. Running back Mikel Leshoure is only giving the Lions ordinary production on the ground.Brandon Marshall is one of Cutler’s best friends in football and also one of the most dangerous receivers in football. He is the Bears’ best big-play wideout and he is good enough to beat double-team coverage. Running back Matt Forte is one of the most versatile players at his position in the league. He is a strong runner, a solid receiver and a consistent blocker.
- DefenseThe Lions have plenty of big-name talent on the defensive side of the ball, but they are not playing to that talent level. The Lions have gone three consecutive games without getting a sack and that’s a recipe for disaster against a quality team like Chicago. The Lions often lack discipline and that is demonstrated by late-hit penalty calls against the defense.Big plays are the rule for the Bears defense. Linebacker Lance Briggs is one of the Bears’ biggest stars on defense and he has returned interceptions for scores in each of the last two games, as has defensive back Charles Tillman. Julius Peppers is a pass-rushing force to be reckoned with and he faces double-team coverage on a regular basis.
- Special TeamsThe Lions have struggled badly covering kickoffs and punts. They have already given up four special teams touchdowns. That’s an area that the Bears may be able to exploit. Jason Hanson is a dependable placekicker, making 16-of-17 field goal attempts this season.Robbie Gould is one of the most dependable kickers in the league and he has mastered the Soldier Field winds. The Bears should have a huge opportunity to get their kickoff and punt return games going against the vulnerable Lions.
The Bears excelled in a previous Monday night matchup at Dallas and they will try to assert themselves against their divisional rival. While the Lions have a sensational big-play wide receiver in Johnson, Stafford has struggled to get him the ball. If Cutler doesn’t turn the ball over, the Bears seem to have the edge.