This is a big game for the Lions. They are 2-1 now, they already have one divisional win, and now they get to host the Chicago Bears. The Bears are currently undefeated, but if the Lions can win, Detroit moves atop the division. Sure, eventually that title would be wrested from them by Green Bay, but being 3-1 would be a nice first quarter to the season for Detroit. This isn’t an easy game, however. The Bears look like a formidable team under new head coach Marc Trestman. Plus, attrition is starting to rear its ugly head.
In the NFL, after a few weeks into the season injuries start to take their toll and how healthy your team happens to be starts to play a bigger part. We know that the Lions have lost Jason Jones for the season and that Nate Burleson is out after suffering the most serious pizza related injury since Chuck Noblet walked into a pizza shop at exactly the wrong time. Both injuries leave the Lions shorthanded in places they cannot afford. Fortunately, the Lions seems to be otherwise healthy on offense.
Reggie Bush is expected back, which is big. With Bush available, the Lions can make the maneuvers necessary to keep their potent passing game going. Either Bush or Joique Bell can be split out wide. Both catch the ball well out of the backfield. They can use tight ends like Joseph Fauria and Tony Scheffler as receivers too. Ryan Broyles is back. Calvin Johnson had a minor injury issue but is considered probable too. I think the Lions can manage without Burleson without having to rely on Kris Durham, which is a good thing.
Additionally, the Bears, while they continue to make defensive touchdowns at a comical rate, have actually had some issues rushing the passer thus far. Meanwhile, the revamped Detroit offensive line has kept Matthew Stafford upright. Henry Melton is out for Chicago too, and Charles Tillman may not be able to play. If Tillman can’t go, I like Detroit’s chances even better. I am not too concerned about the Lions’ offense in this game. They should score points. My concerns are on defense.
You used to be able to count on the Bears to have a porous offensive line and to use Jay Cutler in such a way as to minimize his skills. Now, they have really improved their line, and Trestman’s offense gets the ball out quicker. Detroit will have to work to get after Cutler, and they could be very shorthanded in doing so. Jones is out, meaning Israel Idonije and rookie Devin Taylor, the latter of whom I kind of like, will have to step up. However, Ziggy Ansah is questionable for this game. Without Jones or Ansah, the Lions won’t have much of a pass rush. Matt Forte is a great running back. Brandon Marshall is a great wide receiver. The Bears have a couple other weapons too.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I expect a high scoring game, especially in a dome. Both teams have key defensive players up in the air. I think this will be a close game, and I think the talent on these two teams is pretty close. However, I am concerned about the Lions being able to stop Forte and Cutler, and I have some questions about Detroit’s running game, even with a healthy Bush. I will be zero percent surprised if the Lions score the home win, but at the moment I am learning toward a loss. Final Prediction: Bears 31, Lions 28