This Sunday we will see both of these division rivals go at it with first place in the NFC North on the line.
In the first meeting of these two teams, the Chicago Bears traveled to Detroit and were dominated through 98 percent of the game on both sides of the ball. Chicago looked to be a strong favorite, but the protection for Cutler didn’t hold up that well against the Detroit Lions. Chicago rallied late in the game but fell eight points shy of tying it and was handed their first loss of the season by the Lions.
Running back Reggie Bush slashed this Chicago Bears defense by rushing for nearly 140 yards with a one touchdown. Quarterback Matthew Stafford finished that game 23/45 for 242 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception. That touchdown was of course to Calvin Johnson. Stafford had one rushing touchdown of his own which came in the second quarter.
Late in the game, Jay Cutler and this offense started to get things rolling. As we all know, it was too late but everything they needed to be on the same page with started to click in the fourth quarter of this game. Cutler was able to find both Alshon Jeffery and Earl Bennett on drives that were 60 plus yards as they were able to convert on two point conversions on both drives.
Now this week’s game as I noted before will have first place on the line just like their first head to head match up. Chicago Bears starting quarterback Jay Cutler tore his groin against the Washington Redskins a couple weeks ago and was thought to be out for at least four to six weeks. He got plenty of rest during the bye week which is exactly what this team needed after a tough loss against the Washington Redskins. Back up quarterback Josh McCown stepped up for Cutler after he fell to his injury and nearly beat the Redskins but the defense was unable to hold up on their end.
Going into Green Bay, this team was a big time underdog and when Aaron Rodgers is healthy and ready to play, as well they should be. Unfortunately Rodgers was hurt after he was sacked by second year defensive end Shea McClellin which resulted in a fractured collarbone and Chicago was able to squeeze by the Green Bay Packers for a win on the road.
McCown played very well against a Green Bay Packers defense that still has the ability to be dangerous even when Rodgers isn’t under center for the offense. That Packers team is talented all around and now that they have the running game going for the first time in a couple years, they’ll be a force to reckon with when Rodgers is back in the lineup.
Anyways, Chicago’s rushing defense struggled to stop rookie running back Eddie Lacy who was able to break away from multiple tackles, sometimes all at once and rushed for 150 yards even and one touchdown.
If Chicago has any hopes of winning this game now that Jay Cutler has been cleared to play, they’re going to have to stop the rushing attack of Reggie Bush and contain him. The Bears are 3-1 at home this season with victories over the Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants with their only loss at home being against the New Orleans Saints.
This protection up front is going to have to do exactly what they did for McCown in Green Bay and do it for Cutler. This defensive front for Detroit is going to be like sharks stalking wounded prey since the strong armed Cutler is returning to the team with pretty much a week in a half of rest since his surgery.
Stafford and the Lions are going to be looking to do the same thing they did to this team when they first met. Put pressure on Cutler and chew up this defense with the running game. Stafford and company are coming off a come from behind victory over the Dallas Cowboys which was a game won by starting quarterback Stafford himself. Matthew was able to get everybody up to the line of scrimmage with under nine or so seconds left in the game, get the ball snapped and extended the ball across the goal line to give them six points and the victory.
Dallas thought maybe Stafford was going to spike the ball and weren’t set and ready for the play to begin. Stafford seen how laid back this Cowboys defense was playing so he made the decision to do a quarterback sneak, which worked.
Now let’s look at how these two teams rank on both sides of the ball, let’s start with the Chicago Bears.
Chicago ranks 14th in the league in passing offense and 13th in the league in rushing. Defensively they’ve started off slow, ranking 23rd in the league against the passing game and 29th against the rush. This team is coming off a year where they tied the record with interceptions returned for touchdowns. So despite this team finding ways to cause turnovers, they’re still giving up big plays and are unable to obviously stop the running game with their strong defensive front.
Detroit on the other hand ranks second in the league in passing offense and 21st in rushing offense. Their defense ranks 26th against the pass and 14th against the rush. So right now this team is going to be looking to contain Matt Forte who had a big game rushing and receiving wise as he had almost 200 total yards and one touchdown.
Chicago is coming off a huge win against their biggest foes of the entire league and now that Jay Cutler is healthy enough to play? They’re going to be on a mission, especially since it’s a home game. This team loves playing at home and this crowd is one of the loudest crowds in the game. This Sunday should have a preview of some cold weather, which Chicago plays best in and Cutler will be looking to put his big targets in Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett back to work. Cutler was all smiles during his media time today after practice and is excited to get back into the mix. He’s currently on pace to have a career season and has the best quarterback rating by a Chicago Bear quarterback in franchise history. He’s also on pace to break the single season passing yard mark.
Detroit is going to be looking to spoil Cutler’s return and once again sit at the top of the division. If this team can manage to squeeze by the Chicago Bears this Sunday, they’ll take the season series and will have a strong advantage over them if it comes down to these two teams looking to lock up either the division or final wild card spot.
Right now I think the momentum is even, but Chicago beating Green Bay is always a big deal. Aaron Rodgers or not, it doesn’t take away the fact that Green Bay has a great defense. They’ll balance out the running game, but Cutler is going to be coming out swinging and should connect with both Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall about 10 times each. Forte is running like a mad man and this offensive line has been opening up some big running lanes for him. Teams are forgetting how great of a receiving back he is, so they allow him to sneak out of the backfield and pick up big yardage after bringing in a reception.
Detroit’s coming off a big win against the Dallas Cowboys, but I don’t think they’ll be able to get it done in Chicago. It’s not going to be a blow out win, but Chicago should walk away with a victory.
Chicago Bears 31
Detroit Lions 24
Detroit Lions -2.5
Chicago Bears 52