MATCHUPS TO WATCH: BEARS OFFENSE VS. LIONS DEFENSE
The Lions can control the line of scrimmage, and if they shut down the passing lanes they'll have a chance.
RB Matt Forte vs. LB Ernie Sims: This is the week that Forte has to find his groove once again running the football, as he's averaged less than three yards per carry in three of his last four contests. Now the rookie has still been effective, moving the chains on third down and finding the end zone with regularity both rushing and receiving, but the Bears need to get the ground game going if they want to win in November and December – not to mention January if they make the playoffs. Even though Orton had a career game against the Lions in Detroit about a month ago, Forte is the main cog in Chicago's offensive wheel.
Sims is Detroit's leading tackler and most talented defender, so he'll be putting a bullseye on Forte from start to finish.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: LIONS OFFENSE VS. BEARS DEFENSE
If Detroit can establish a ground game – this means more than 13 carries for 54 yards – it will force the Bears to keep eight men in the box and open up the team's playbook, meanwhile relieving pressure on a still-green QB Dan Orlovsky.
WR Calvin Johnson vs. CB Charles Tillman: The Chicago media's conference call with the Lions was much less colorful this week than it was before the first matchup, as Roy Williams – and his motor of a mouth – was traded to the Cowboys nine days after that 34-7 thumping at Ford Field. With Williams no longer in the mix, Johnson is now the focal point of a once-dangerous Detroit passing game that has taken a significant step back this year with veteran Jon Kitna on injured reserve and Mike Martz now coordinating the offense in San Francisco. Johnson has only caught six passes in two games since Williams' departure, although he's still produced 211 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Tillman, one of the league's most physical cornerbacks, should draw a ton of one-on-one coverage against Johnson even though he's been limited in recent weeks because of a shoulder problem.
THE LIONS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
THE LIONS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
THE BEARS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
THE BEARS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
John Crist: Since the Bears handled the Lions 34-7 on the road back in Week 5, everyone is just assuming it's going to be a blowout Sunday at Soldier Field. But Detroit has shown a lot of fight in its last three games, which is a testament to head coach Rod Marinelli even though he's pretty much a dead man walking these days. I believe this game will be close at halftime, but Chicago should pull away in the second half and move to 5-3 ... BEARS 27, LIONS 13.
Behind Enemy Lines: Part III
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