Monday Night Football Preview: Bears at Lions

Tossed to and fro, from pushing Atlanta aside, to being pushed aside by New Orleans and Green Bay, the Bears season so far has changed many directions.  At its highest peak, the team’s fortunes were most northern after an impressive Week 1 domination of the Falcons, to the most southern point after falling to the hated Packers in Week 3.

The 2011 campaign could be likened unto the the wind: at times; cool and breezy (Atlanta), and even most comfortable (Carolina), and at other moments; very harsh and sudden (New Orleans), and then just downright unbearable (Green Bay).  With a chance to straighten out the direction of the season as the seasons change, in hopes of sending forth a strong message tonight in Detroit, the Bears will have to find their third “win(d)” if they want to stay in the NFC North hunt and change their season – for the better and not the worst.

To do so, it will be no easy task, as it will take an energized performance against a team with an unblemished record and an unstoppable motor named Calvin.  Motorized by this superhuman/hero who wears #81, the strategy for the Monsters of the Midway is relatively simple if they want to up their mark above .500 on the year: stifle Stafford, the guy who throws to the unstoppable motor, which electrifies and ignites the second-to-last undefeated club in the NFL.  Easier said than done; but not if a certain group plays like they did exactly a month ago from tomorrow.

I truly believe, if a victory is to be earned, the only way the Bears can defeat the Lions is to limit Johnson from imposing his will on the football game.  And by that, I mean, less than two touchdowns – his weekly average.   The solution for such a daunting assignment: get to the QB before he can throw it to the former Yellow Jacket legend.  In that case, guys like Henry Melton and Israel Idonije need to win their battles on the left side of the line against Stephen Peterman and Gosder Cherilus.  Furthermore, Julius Peppers has to make Jeff Backus look every bit of the 34 years old he is, and even more; make every bit of his $864,583 gamecheck.  You know Urlacher and Briggs are primed for primetime, however, it all begins and end up front with the four most important players in this game – the visiting team’s defensive line.

Although Chris Harris’ return is a big boost for the defense, yet, his presence means next to nothing if he can’t cover ground – it’s no secret the Lions can’t (31st in the NFL) move the ball on the ground.  On the flip side, it’s also no mystery the Bears have trouble defending the passing – ranked third-last in the league.  In essence, expect a lot of pitching and catching from the Lions (not Tigers) to take place tonight.

In the end, throw all the storylines, MNF returning to Motown for the first time since ’01, and everything other obvious “Suh is going to kill the Bears line and Cutler” thought out of the way and just focus on the Bears defense.  I say this fully knowing if Rod Marinelli’s 11-man wrecking crew plays like it did when the defensive wind was at its strongest (Atlanta, Week 1), getting heat from the line, then the team which is motored by a wide receiver, will have little chance to find time to get the rock in its motor’s hands, thus, meaning a Bears victory.

Prediction – Matt Forte touches the ball 25 times, the front four generates consistent pass rush, and Jay Cutler throws less than two picks.  One-dimensional Lions revealed in the national spotlight.  Bears play with a sense of urgency.  Signature win?  No.  Just a game where the Bears put it together and turnaround their season.  Bears 22 Lions 18

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