Goal to Go

One last look at the key matchups and notes for today's season opener against the Detroit Lions.

Eye of the storm
* Rex Grossman, Bears quarterback
Grossman is 2-1 as the starter, but this is still like his rookie season. Under a new coach, a new offense and plenty of new receivers, Grossman hasn't looked comfortable under center. The Bears' season rests on his shoulders, so Grossman needs to show more than he did in the preseason.

* Lions secondary
Lions defensive coordinator Dick Jauron knows Grossman, which means he's going to throw everything at the young QB. Grossman will be tested by different coverages and schemes, and veterans Dre' Bly and Brock Marion in the secondary will make him work for every yard.

Another key matchup
* Thomas Jones, Bears running back
The former first-round bust looked fantastic in the preseason. Jones must make some big runs to keep the defense honest. The Lions are going to make Grossman beat them, but Jones has the speed to break off some long runs and back the defense up.

* Earl Holmes, Lions linebacker
The Lions' leading tackler, Holmes is best against the run. Jones will be the entire Lions defense is focused on. They know if they can stop Jones, the Bears offense is in big trouble.

Injury report
* Lions: OUT: LB Boss Bailey (knee); T Matt Joyce (elbow); TE John Owens (ankle). PROBABLE: LB James Davis (ankle); DE Kalimba Edwards (groin); S Brock Marion (knee); DT Cory Redding (shoulder); FB Paul Smith (shoulder).

* Bears: OUT: CB Jerry Azumah (neck); LB Marcus Reese (hamstring); G Rex Tucker (elbow). PROBABLE: LB Brian Urlacher (hamstring); CB R.W. McQuarters (hamstring); TE Desmond Clark (hamstring); P Brad Maynard (hamstring), RB Anthony Thomas (side).

No place like home
The Bears have won 14 of their last 16 season-home openers. This year's opener is just the second time in the last five years the Bears have played their first game at Soldier Field. This will be the eighth time in franchise history the Bears will open the season with the Lions. The home team has been victorious in each of the last seven opening day meetings.

Open up say 'score'
The Bears have averaged 24.0 points on opening day since 1984, posting a 14-6 record in those 20 openers. Five times the Bears have tallied 30 points or more, including 41 points against Cleveland in 1986. The franchise's season opening best was a 45-point outburst against Green Bay in 1948, resulting in a 45-7 win for the Bears on the road.

Last season's 49-7 loss at San Francisco on Sept. 7 was the second-most points ever allowed by the Bears in the first game of a season, with the most also coming at San Francisco in a 52-24 loss on Sept. 19, 1965.

Quick hits
* The Bears have won two of the last three meetings, and five of the last seven.

* The two teams have split the series the last two years, with the home team winning.

* The Bears have won three straight home games over the Lions, dating back to 2000.

* This will be the 149th meeting between the two teams. The Bears hold an 83-60-5 advantage.

* The inaugural meeting between the two teams was in 1930, when the Portsmouth Spartans beat the Bears, 7-6.

* The Lions have lost an NFL-record 24 consecutive road games. Their last win was in Week 16 of the 2000 season.

Fast fact
The Bears have 48 Opening Day wins, the most of any NFL franchise.

Detroit (0-0) at Bears (0-0)
Noon today, FOX, WFLD-TV (Ch. 32)


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