Behind Enemy Lines: Part II

Our Scout.com experts, Jeremy Stoltz of Bear Report and Nate Caminata of Roar Report, go Behind Enemy Lines for a closer look at Monday's Bears/Lions contest at Ford Field.

Devin Hester has been as potent as ever this season, last week breaking the all-time NFL record for punt returns. Do the Lions kick to him this weekend or sacrifice field position with punts out of bounds?

Although the Lions are pretty confident in their special team's play, I think any course of action that involves preventing Devin Hester from touching the ball is probably the most logical. Other than Forte, Hester appears to be Chicago's really only weapon in the open field, and an opportunist that can change the game with a single play.

This should prove to be an interesting challenge to Lions' punter Ryan Donahue, a rookie, and whether or not he can put his punts in a position to mitigate Hester's ability.


WR Calvin Johnson
Mike Ehrmann/Getty

Calvin Johnson is on an unprecedented tear right now. Can he continue at this pace? Is there anything Chicago's defense can do to limit his effectiveness, besides pray for an ankle injury?

In a word? No. In a conversation with FOX Sports' Jay Glazer, Tampa Bay veteran DB Ronde Barber said the Buccaneers game-planned specifically to double and 'shut down' Johnson during the two team's week one match-up. But once they were on the field, Barber said "there wasn't a damn thing we could do."

During his first touchdown against Dallas, Johnson blatantly pointed his finger into the air, motioning to Stafford, "Just toss it up, these guys just don't know ...," and just a few seconds later three Cowboys were posterized. I'm not a fan of dramatic comparisons, but Johnson reminds me of another former Lion that you just couldn't gameplan for: Barry Sanders. Regardless of your defense, this individual possesses the physical gifts that everyone else on the field simply wasn't blessed with.

It also doesn't hurt that a finally healthy Stafford is playing as an elite quarterback at this time. Given Chicago's secondary struggles this year, I'd guess it would be a long day for the Bears defense.

The Lions' inability to establish the run has led to some early deficits through the first four games. Whose at fault in the run game? What do the Lions need to do to have success rushing the ball against the Bears?

I think it's a combination of a few things. For starters, there hasn't been much of a push up front, and Jahvid Best has found little room to maneuver. The team had some success against Dallas, but in an odd way, it doesn't appear that they've had much of an opportunity, either. Remember that in each of their last two games, the Lions found themselves down by 20 and 24 points, respectively. Most teams churn out running yardage in the second halves, and given their situations, Detroit has been forced to go to the air.

In the last two games, they've run a total of 15 times in the third and fourth quarters. If the Lions take an early lead over Chicago, expect more carries to keep the ball away from Mike Martz's passing offense. If they're unable to gain traction on the ground, they'll use the tight ends and screens to supplant the run department.


DT Ndamukong Suh
Leon Halip/Getty

The Bears' offensive line has had problems protecting Jay Cutler for most of the season. Do you feel the Lions defense will attack with mainly the front four, relying on Suh and Vanden Bosch to apply pressure, or can Chicago expect a heavy dose of the blitz?

The Lions were not aggressive against Dallas, and they paid for it dearly in the first half. The Cowboys nickle-and-dimed Detroit almost to death, forcing the team to become more aggressive after halftime. In a way, I think they learned quite a bit about themselves in the process. While I would expect the team to certainly maintain that aggressive nature, especially at home on a Monday night, they must also be cognizant of Chicago's ability to set up the screen with Matt Forte.

Ndamukong Suh might also be paired with rookie Nick Fairley for the first time, and though Fairley will play sparingly, it gives the Lions' defensive line another big body to wear on Chicago's interior. If that bodes well, the Lions will be able to temper the enthusiasm and drop more men into coverage.

After a 4-0 start, what is the feeling in the Lions' locker room? Was this something they expected or are they just as surprised as everyone else? Any chance they'll be overconfident as home favorites?

Everything coming out of Allen Park suggests that this team has adopted the humble nature of Calvin Johnson, while at the same time, I don't think they're surprised by their success. Remember that the Lions won four consecutive games at the end of 2010, and most of the pieces they've added this year -- including MLB Stephen Tulloch -- have previously been in winning situations.

Winning is an expectation now, which is new to the general view of this franchise, but not to those on the field. While they might don the same jerseys and name as that 0-16 club and previous Detroit disasters, those identifiers only mean something to the media and fans, and nothing to the players.

To view Part I of this series, click here.


Jeremy Stoltz is publisher of BearReport.com. Nate Caminata is publisher of RoarReport.com.


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