Detroit Lions (0-7) at Chicago Bears (4-3)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 ET
TV: FOX (Sam Rosen, Tim Ryan, Chris Myers)
SERIES: 158th regular-season meeting. Bears lead, 88-64-5. Bears beat the Lions on Oct. 5, 34-7, after taking 31-0 lead. Quarterback Kyle Orton posted a career-high passer rating of 121.4. Two of his four career 100-plus ratings have come against Detroit.
PREDICTION: Bears 30-16
KEYS TO THE GAME: The good news for the Lions is they lead the NFL by scoring a touchdown on 75 percent of their red-zone possessions. The bad news is their eight red-zone possessions are the fewest in the league. To keep the game close, Detroit must get more production out of RBs Rudi Johnson and Kevin Smith, who combined for 54 rushing yards in the first meeting. QB Dan Orlovsky knows he'll be blitzed heavily and must get rid of the ball quickly. ... Bears QB Kyle Orton lit up the Lions secondary for 334 yards and a pair of scores through the air in Week 5 with a personal-best 121.4 passer rating. Detroit's cornerbacks must play better, and the safeties have to provide more support in coverage and in securing open-field tackles. But Orton will be in for a repeat performance unless the Lions' pass rush can contribute more than the one sack it registered in the first meeting.
Key Injuries: Lions: TE Casey Fitzsimmons (rib) could be a game-day decision; DT Cory Redding (groin) is uncertain; S Dwight Smith (foot) is unlikely to play. Bears: DT Tommie Harris (knee) is expected to play; SLB Hunter Hillenmeyer (thumb) is likely out. Need to know: In three career starts, Orlovsky has thrown 81 passes without an interception. ... Orton is 11-2 in home starts in his career.
- DT Chuck Darby did not practice Wednesday because of a calf injury. He was limited Thursday and likely will be available Sunday at Chicago.
- LB Jordon Dizon did not practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a hamstring injury. He seems unlikely to play Sunday, considering he did not practice last week, either.
- FB Jerome Felton did not practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a high ankle sprain. He will not play Sunday.
- TE Casey Fitzsimmons did not practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a rib injury. He said he wanted to see how he felt Friday. He still hopes to play Sunday.
- DT Cory Redding did not practice Wednesday because of a groin injury. He was limited Thursday and said he would play Sunday.
- S Dwight Smith did not practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a foot injury. He said he would not rule out playing Sunday, but it would depend on how he felt Friday.
- G Damion Cook was limited Wednesday and Thursday because of a knee injury but said he will play.
- G Andy McCollum was limited Wednesday and Thursday because of a finger injury. His status is uncertain.
- WR Brandon Lloyd (sprained knee) was limited at practice Thursday for the third straight day and said he won't play unless he's 100 percent.
- S Danieal Manning, who plays nickel back, has been limited at practice all week and appears doubtful for Sunday.
- CB Charles Tillman (shoulder) was a full participant at Thursday's practice after sitting out the Week 7 game and looks like he'll be back in the starting lineup Sunday.
- CB Nate Vasher (wrist) participated fully in Thursday's practice and could return for the first time since he was injured on Sept. 28 and had surgery.
- SLB Hunter Hillenmeyer is wearing a cast on his right thumb that required surgery last week, and he was limited in practice all week but has not been ruled out.
INSIDE THE CAMPS
With the Lions 0-7, a lot of Detroit fans care less about Sunday's game at Chicago than whether quarterback Drew Stanton is going to play at some point this season.
Stanton not only was a second-round pick last year, but he went to high school in suburban Detroit and played at Michigan State.
Offensive coordinator Jim Colletto threw some cold water on the fans' hopes, though.
"The experiment to throw him in there right now wouldn't be fair to him at this point," Colletto said.
"Well, he's not ready to do that yet," Colletto said. "I'm not going to embarrass the kid just to prove a point to somebody else."
Why isn't Stanton ready?
Last year, offensive coordinator Mike Martz changed Stanton's mechanics. After three days of training camp, Stanton went on injured reserve with a knee problem. He wasn't allowed to practice the rest of the year, by NFL rules. Martz ignored him.
This year, Martz was fired. New quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler changed Stanton's mechanics again, close to what they were at MSU. Stanton struggled even to throw a spiral at times in the offseason. He progressed and looked good in his first two exhibitions, but then he suffered a sprained thumb and sat out the rest of the preseason and the beginning of the regular season.
Physically, Stanton might be ready. Colletto said Stanton is throwing the ball way better than he ever has. But mentally, Stanton is still behind Dan Orlovsky, a fifth-round pick in 2005. Orlovsky just started his first three NFL games, but he has had years more practice time.
"The big difference is, one has played a lot," Colletto said. "Drew is like a rookie. I mean, he didn't do anything last year, and that's not his fault. I mean, he didn't do anything. ...
"You need another preseason with him to really get a sense of that."
Told the fans wanted to see Stanton to evaluate him for the future, Colletto said: "Well, it's hard. The fans want a lot of things. So do we. But I'm not going to put a youngster in there and embarrass him in a live NFL game where the guys on the other side don't care who the quarterback is till he's real comfortable with what he's doing. And he's getting closer and closer to doing that."
Stanton has taken almost all his reps with the scout team the past three weeks, because Orlovsky needed all the reps he could get, Colletto said. But Stanton took about 20 percent of the reps with the main offense Wednesday because Orlovsky has played enough now where he doesn't need to take them all.
Will Stanton play this year?
"Well, I don't know," Colletto said. "We'll see how that all plays out."
Is there really any point in the Bears worrying about the Lions on Sunday?
The 0-7 visitors are 28th in scoring and last in points and yards allowed. They're also 31st in rushing yards, first downs, rushing yards allowed and passing yards allowed. They've been outscored 212-114.
But Bears players and coaches say there are plenty of reasons to take their winless NFC North opponents seriously.
"I know in the Lions' camp, they're focused on just getting that first win, and they'd like nothing more than to get it against us," defensive lineman Israel Idonije said. "Our focus is to play them like they're undefeated or having a great year. Just don't take anything for granted."
But this is a team that has one win in its last 15 games. In the first meeting three weeks ago, wide receiver Roy Williams caught seven passes for 96 yards against the Bears, more than half of the Lions' total offense of 185 yards. But Williams, arguably the team's most talented player, was traded to the Cowboys nine days after that game.
The Bears insist they will not be complacent against the Lions, whom they outgained 425-185 in the first meeting this season.
"Not when you're dealing with a team that beat you twice last year," said quarterback Kyle Orton, who posted personal bests in passing yards and passer rating in the first game this season. "They came in here last year and beat us at home. We've got to defend our home field and come out and play well coming off the bye week."
And the Bears can't afford to give away an extremely winnable game, considering the undefeated Titans follow the Lions into town next week, and then its three straight road games after that. With a modest 4-3 record, the Bears cannot miss an opportunity to put some breathing room between themselves and the 3-4 Vikings and, hopefully, the 4-3 Packers, who have to play the Titans on the road. So overlooking the Lions isn't an option.
"I don't think there's any sense of that at all," offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. "Our guys know when we watch the film that we're doing some things well, and we're making some plays, but we're not even close to where we can be. Our guys know that, and they understand that we've got to maintain that edge and maintain that focus that we've had. As soon as that slips one bit, we're going to be very average. We've just got to keep playing with that edge we've had."
There has already been plenty of examples around the league of the old "on any given Sunday" rule.
The 0-4 Rams had been outscored 147-43 when they went on the road to play the 4-1 Redskins, who were coming off back-to-back road victories over the Eagles and Cowboys. Yet the Rams won 19-17, and the following week they routed the Cowboys 34-14. A week earlier, the Broncos, who are now 4-3 and in first place in the AFC West, lost by 14 points to the Chiefs, Kansas City's only victory this season.
"Every week you see that any team can beat anybody in the NFL," nose tackle Dusty Dvoracek said. "If you don't come to play on Sunday, you're going to lose. Everybody's good in the NFL. They may not have any wins, but they're still a good, capable football team. Everyone in this locker room knows that."