Lions Looking To Avenge Loss From Early In The Season Against The Chicago Bears.
The upcoming contest to be played this Sunday afternoon at Ford Field in Detroit involves two very different teams, with two very different stories. For Chicago, this was meant to be a good year, one of improvement. For Detroit, a rebuilding year.
However as December football has arrived, so has a reversal of fates. On the surface, the Chicago Bears at 3-9 have little to play for. In fact, there are seemingly many in Chicago who are already in “draft pick mode”, and are upset that last week their Bears defeated the 49ers. As Lions fans, we unfortunately have felt this before and for quite some time it was the norm. Not this year. By hook or by crook, the Detroit Lions are in first place at 8-4 in the NFC North, and sit upon their blue and silver throne as kings of the north.
John Fox and the Bears hope to play spoiler without a doubt. The Bears are a team that despite adversity and disappointment, have not given up. Don’t be fooled Detroit, this Bears squad would love nothing more than to complete a season sweep over the Detroit Lions.
Jim Caldwell and his Detroit Lions have been on a roll, and know how much this game means. So it should be an easy win in front of the Ford Field faithful, right? Pump the brakes Lions fans. For this is the NFL and wins do not come easy, especially against divisional opponents. This game for the Lions defines the age old adage of a “trap game”. The Lions path to 9-4 on the season is not guaranteed. With that being said, let’s get to a few of my keys to the game.
Jordan Howard, rookie HB for the Bears, averages an eye popping 4.9 yards per carry on 181 rushing attempts, totalling 883 yards for this season. He has five TD’s on the season, three of which came last week against San Fransisco. This is in my opinion by far the biggest X factor in this game.
If Detroit allows the new Jordan in Chicago to do his will, they will not have a path to victory. This season Detroit has a middle of the road run defense. Standing at 13th overall in the NFL, they are giving up 98.2 yards per game. The biggest key to this game will be to hold Howard to under 100 yards rushing.
Can the NFL veteran leader of the Detroit defensive line, Haloti Ngata, along with the somewhat depleted Detroit Lions LB core say “Ngata in my house” and hold Howard in check? Bringing the Bears rookie back to earth?
The Detroit Lions are no strangers to injuries this year. Every phase of their game has been affected at some point or another this season. This week will be no different.
Travis Swanson is currently in concussion protocol. Dwayne Washington appeared to suffer a somewhat significant injury last sunday. Theo Riddick and Ziggy Ansah both are battling injuries as they have been for quite some time, and Quandre Diggs has been shut down for the year.
Guard Graham Glasgow should have no problem stepping in and taking over the center position. However with him doing so, the first round draft pick from last year Laken Tomlinson, labeled by some to be a bust, MUST deliver in the left guard position if Glasgow is shifted to center. At half back, with Riddick and Washington dealing with injuries, will the well known former and now current Lion Joique Bell contribute to the team and write the first chapter in the story of his fairytale return to Detroit?
As far as corner goes, can Adarius Barnes pull off his best Crezdon Butler impersonation and make a key play? Write it down, I’m calling my shot now. My answer is a resounding YES.
Watch for Barnes to play in the slot this week, and go ahead and hold your breath, until he makes a show stopping play in a big way. That’s just what these 53 men on this Detroit Lions roster do, in some combination by some way this year.
When you look at the stats for this year, there’s no comparison. Bears QB Matt Barkley, once beaten out by Tim Tebow for a backup job in the NFL, has passed for 589 yards and three TD’s on the year along with four interceptions.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford has passed for 3,224 yards this NFL season, good for 21 TD’s and five interceptions. To a layman, these stats seem concrete in predicting a Detroit victory. However, it is important this week especially with potential changes to Detroit’s offensive line, not to just jump on board with the obvious. Chicago’s pass rush is without a doubt no joke, with or without a potentially different combination in place to protect Matthew Stafford as Detroit’s offensive line.
With that being said, I wouldn’t be even a subpar writer if I didn’t offer my prediction for this week’s game. Good news Detroit, I see things going the way of the blue and silver nine times out of 10.