Keys To The Game: How The Lions Beat The Bears
By Scott McMahon
Your 2013 NFC North Division champions: the Detroit Lions?
Yeah, it could happen. The Lions sit at 2-1 through three games, and are coming off their first win in Washington D.C. since the team moved to Detroit. Momentum is in their favor, and as long as no one else breaks a limb saving a pizza, the Lions have a chance to win any game on the rest of their schedule and take the NFC North—and it all starts with their next two games against the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers.
Let’s stick with the matchup against the 3-0 Bears for right now. Chicago’s calling card is their defense, although their offense has shown some signs of improvement from last year. But regardless of record, Chicago has been a particularly difficult opponent for the Lions to beat. I’m of the mindset that if any Lions team can knock off this Bears team, it’s this group.
So how do the Lions win this Sunday? It’s simple really, just follow these suggestions:
1) Protect the football.
The Bears defense has scored on a higher percentage of snaps this season (1.7%) than the Jacksonville Jaguars offense, and has scored as many touchdowns (3) as both the Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs, and Charles Tillman have a nose for the ball, and will do everything in their power to disrupt the Lions offense.
2) Pressure Jay Cutler.
Cutler isn’t exactly Peyton Manning—he is turnover prone, and will make some poor decisions if the Lions defensive line can get into the backfield. Combine that with a Bears offensive line that drew comparisons last year to stationary patio furniture, and you get the potential for a nightmare afternoon for Cutler.
3) Protect the football.
I mean it. These guys make plays on defense, and can take any interception or fumble back to the house, and Matthew Stafford has thrown two pick-sixes in the last two weeks.
4) Establish a running game.
The Bears lost their Pro Bowl defensive tackle Henry Melton to a season-ending injury last week, which the Lions coaches are well aware of. Look for Reggie Bush and Joique Bell to get the ball early and often, and make things a little easier for Matthew Stafford against the Bears secondary.
5) Dominate on defense.
The Bears offense ranks 22nd in total yards, 21st in passing yards, and 18th in rushing yards. Their receiving corps is unimpressive after Brandon Marshall, and could be a liability if running back Matt Forte can’t establish a rhythm against the Lions front seven. The secondary will need to step up like they did last week in Washington.
6) Protect the football.
Have I mentioned this yet?
So there you have it. Four to six simple instructions on how to hand Chicago their first loss of the season and claim a share of the NFC North lead.
Enjoy the game.