Bears/Lions Game Snapshot

The Bears and Lions will square off for the first time this season at Ford Field on Monday. Below is a rundown of all the information you'll need to prepare yourself for this NFC North matchup.

KICKOFF: Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET
GAMEDATE: 10/10/11
SURFACE: FieldTurf

TV: ESPN, Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, Jon Gruden

KEYS TO THE GAME

The Bears won't contain Lions WR Calvin Johnson with bracket coverage but might invite QB Matt Stafford to try secondary targets -- WRs Nate Burleson and Titus Young, TE Brandon Pettigrew and RB Jahvid Best -- or check to running plays with Best. The Bears' goal is to limit explosive plays and make Johnson work. A futile pass rush might get to Stafford if the Bears can manipulate matchups for DE Julius Peppers, who could see significant snaps against RT Gosder Cherilus. Chicago must score points, and the approach starts with more straight-ahead running from Matt Forte, who remains the Bears' top big-play threat as a receiver behind a rickety offensive line.

FAST FACTS

The Bears have allowed 100-plus rushing yards in all four games. ... Bears QB Jay Cutler was sacked eight times but completed 72.1 percent of his passes against Detroit last season.

INSIDE LIONS CAMP

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is easily the harshest critic of the Lions' defensive line play thus far this season.

"In my opinion, we've played very mediocre," he said. "With that, there's a lot of room to improve. To be able to keep winning and still have things to work on, that's a good cooking pot for us."


DT Ndamukong Suh
Leon Halip/Getty

Suh, an All-Pro and defensive rookie of the year last season, is off to what can be best described as a quietly effective start. He has 11 tackles and two sacks -- far from the torrid pace he set last year when he had 10 sacks. But, in the grand scheme of the defense, he and the rest of the defensive line has kept steady pressure on quarterbacks and been at times overtly disruptive, and other times subtly disruptive.

"Any competitive defensive lineman wants a lot of sacks and it's unfortunate that we are down on our numbers, but we understand we've done some good things," Suh said. "One way to measure us to see the things we've done in the backfield, causing pressure and making quarterbacks loft balls up that lead to interceptions. But by all means, we want to get back to sacking the quarterback."

The Bears Jay Cutler has been sacked 15 times this season, second only to St. Louis' Sam Bradford (18). Last year, in the game at Ford Field, Suh was fined for hitting Cutler with excessive force outside the pocket. He was asked if such a hit might have some carry-over impact on Cutler's psyche.

"I have no idea; you'd have to ask Jay Cutler about that," Suh said. "That's not my concern and it was not the reason for the hit. The reason to hit him hard is to create a play, get him to fumble. He was outside the pocket and it's unfortunate that I got the call."

Teams are emptying the trick box to find ways to neutralize Suh, occasionally with some success. They try to use his penetration against him, either with trap blocks inside, or chipping him with an offensive tackle.

"A lot of teams do that," coach Jim Schwartz said. "They keep a tight end in and bring a tackle down. But every time they keep a tight end in, it's one less guy in the route. Even though that might do a good job stymieing a defensive tackle, without an extra guy in the route it can be counter-productive."

As for the trap blocks, that's a systemic issue.

"We're vulnerable to trap blocks," Schwartz said. "You tell guys to get up field and rush the passer, they're going to be susceptible to the trap. But our linebackers are expected to play that. We don't want our guys slowing down and playing traps. Suh is an instinctive guy. He's seen those things before. If we are getting off the line the way we are supposed to, our linebackers should fill those (gaps) up."

Suh, for the most part, has been able to adjust to whatever teams throw at him. Against Tampa Bay and Kansas City, he used his speed and agility. Against Minnesota and Dallas, he used brute force.

"The great way our defense is set up, when I get penetration, I am doing my job," Suh said. "Even if they knock me off course -- whether they are trapping me from the inside-out, or doing a wham block from the outside-in -- a lot of times I withstand those blows and I still stay in my gap and get my job done."

PERSONNEL NEWS

Bears

--G/C Chris Spencer will probably get at least a week to recover from the fracture in his right hand that knocked him out temporarily in Week 4, but didn't prevent him from playing the entire second half.


T Gabe Carimi
Dennis Wierzbicki/US Presswire

--OG Lance Louis is expected to replace Chris Spencer at right guard. Louis opened the season in that spot, but suffered a sprained ankle in Week 1 and returned as a sub in Week 4, playing right guard and right tackle.

--WR Earl Bennett (bruised chest) is not expected to play this week.

--OT Gabe Carimi (partially dislocated kneecap) will not play this week.

--S Chris Harris (hamstring) was limited at practice and remains questionable at best for Week 5. He hasn't played since the season opener and suffered a setback last week in practice.

--TE Matt Spaeth (calf) has been limited at practice and will probably be questionable this week.

--CB Charles Tillman (hip) has been limited but is expected to start Monday night.

Lions

--S Vincent Fuller, who played in Tennessee for six seasons, was signed Wednesday night. He is expected to fill in on special teams and provide depth at safety in the absence of Erik Coleman, who is out indefinitely with an ankle injury. Fuller played mostly as a nickel back and special teams player for the Titans. He can also play safety. He is expected to fill in at safety and special teams in the short term. Not only is Coleman out, but starting strong safety Amari Spievey is hampered by a sore hamstring.

--DT Nick Fairley (foot) practiced for the second straight day Thursday. It was the first time he's worked on consecutive days and the first time he's been in pads since breaking his foot on Aug. 1. ESPN was reporting that Fairley will make his pro debut Monday night. However, neither Schwartz nor Fairley would confirm that. Schwartz, actually, seemed to indicate the opposite. He said on Wednesday that there would be a progression to Fairley's return. "We won't go from zero to 100 with him," Schwartz said.

--QB Matthew Stafford has probably given more interviews to national media outlets these past couple of weeks than he has since his draft day. To say that he's not overwhelmed by it is an understatement. "It's part of playing in the NFL," he said. "If you are successful, you have to talk to people who are on television that more people watch. But they don't ask me any different questions than you guys do."

--SS Amari Spievey (hamstring) did not practice at all Thursday. He said he still expects to play on Monday.

--OLB Justin Durant (concussion) has been limited. "You can't really play games with the brain," he said. "It's a serious issue. They are taking it slow and I am being patient, as well. We need to make sure the symptoms don't come back. I will go out and get my heart rate up and hopefully participate full tomorrow."

--WR Rashied Davis (foot) has not practiced.

--OT Jacques McClendon was released to make room for S Vincent Fuller.


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