No Lion Back

LAKE FOREST -- Don't think bye week, Bears fans.<p> Don't say the words patsy, gimme or freebie, either.<p> Sure, the Detroit Lions are the only winless team in the NFL, but that doesn't mean it's time for the Bears to kick up their heels and break out the beer and pretzels.

  Chicago is 8-2, and needs to maintain its NFC Central lead. Detroit is 0-10, but wants nothing more than to get that first win of the season. Against anybody.

   "They're an extremely dangerous team, especially on the the offensive side of the ball," Bears free safety Mike Brown said. "They've had more plays over 20 yards than any other team in the NFL. They're a pretty big-play offense and if you look at the games they've played, they've lost by three points, four points -- they've been pretty high scoring, too.

   "It's just been a fact that other offenses have been able to outscore them."

   Looking at this game on paper, it doesn't look like much of a matchup.

   A good word to use is 'rank' when you look at what the Lions have on the table. Detroit ranks last or 31st in the league in first downs given up per game (21.1), 30th in points given up (29.1) and 29th in both total yards surrendered (360) and total passing yards allowed (228).

   Don't say cupcake around the Bears players or coaches.

   "This is a huge trap that we're about to walk into, and if we're not smart enough to recognize that and realize that, we could be in for a huge surprise, because when we kick that ball off on Sunday records will mean nothing," Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache said. "Our record won't help us one iota, it won't stop a first down and it won't knock a pass down.

   "We've got to go out and play the best football we can play, and that's going to be the important issue on Sunday."

   Last year's 23-20 win by the Bears at Detroit in the regular-season finale also knocked the Lions out of the playoffs. Chicago came into that game with a 4-11 record. Detroit was 9-6, but fell on Paul Edinger's last-second field goal and missed the playoffs.

   "A lot of people will make a big deal about their record, but I'll take you back a few years to 1995 when I was (coaching ) with the Colts. We were 1-10 and we were playing a 10-0 Packers team that ended up in the Super Bowl and we beat them," Blache said. "I told the guys that (Wednesday). Records mean nothing when you come on the field and these guys have some incentives because last year we went in there on Christmas Eve and stole their Christmas from them.

   "If somebody did that to me, I'd lay in the bushes for them when they came back around."

   The Lions have lost their last seven games by an average of just 4.6 per contest. They lost to Green Bay on Thanksgiving 29-27 and just 20-17 to Tampa Bay on Nov. 11.

   "You would think a lot of teams would pretty much pack it in, but the spirits are high in practice, which is really surprising, and we're still working," said Detroit defensive end Robert Porcher. "We still have six weeks left. I'm focused on this season, and I'm really, really just wanting us to get a win, because it's totally embarrassing.

   "It's really, really embarrassing to be the only team in the league right now to not have a win."


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