The Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions are not in the same place as far as the standings are concerned, where Chicago is two full games ahead of Detroit. But both teams have won their last game, which means they will both be coming into Monday night’s match-up riding high. The Chicago Bears will have had more than two weeks to prepare for this game since they enjoyed their bye week this past weekend. The Detroit Lions are coming off of a comeback win against the Eagles, where they erased a 10 point fourth quarter deficit to win in overtime. Enough about what happened last week, let’s look at what’s going to happen Monday night.
The last time these two teams met it was a forgettable night for Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford as he threw four interceptions en route to a 24 point loss. Stafford was also involved in a scuffle with Chicago Bears Cornerback DJ Moore after Moore intercepted a pass from Stafford and Stafford pulled Moore down by his helmet. This resulted in Moore hitting Stafford, which sparked a huge melee. There were other incidents in the game that led up to the melee such as a late hit on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler by Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley, which led some Chicago Bears players to call the Lions a dirty team after the game. While this has not been a marquee match up in the past, the Detroit Lions are now relevant, and it seems that the Chicago Bears are not ready to stop viewing them as the door mat of the NFC North. Given this recent bad blood it will be interesting to see how much activity there is after the whistle on Monday night.
The identities of these two teams could not be more different. The Detroit Lions boast a potent passing attack featuring Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford, who threw for over 5,000 yards last season. While the Chicago Bears pride themselves on their suffocating defense and running the ball with Matt Forte and Michael Bush.
The Chicago Bears defense has been scoring at a faster rate than some offenses around the NFL, with Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs leading the way. If the Detroit Lions offense struggles and does not take care of the ball early the opportunistic Chicago defense could put the Detroit Lions in a hole they can’t climb their way out of. On the flip side, the Chicago Bears defense needs to limit the big plays early so they are not playing from behind. The Chicago offense is most effective when it is able to establish the run and work the play action to try and get big plays down the field to Brandon Marshall. If the Chicago Bears find themselves down early they will have to rely more heavily on the pass, which is when Jay Cutler tries to do too much and tends to make mistakes.
Another match up in this game that will be interesting to watch is Devin Hester against the struggling Detroit Lions special teams unit. Hester has done nothing so far this year in the return game, but any time the best return man in the history of the NFL is matched up against a historically bad special teams unit like the Detroit Lions’ anything can happen.
This game has all the makings of a Monday night classic, and it should live up to the hype. Both teams have the offensive fire power to turn the game into a blowout, but the Chicago Bears defense has been much more effective at creating turnovers this season. All signs point to the Chicago Bears defense creating opportunities for the offense and getting out to an early lead. While the Detroit Lions offense has been exponentially more effective in the fourth quarter, the Chicago Bears offense wont make enough mistakes to let Detroit back in the game. The Bears should have enough fire power to pull this one out, but the Detroit Lions won’t go down without a fight.