The long wait is just about over. The real answers will come Sunday, at noon, on FOX. What will our offensive line look like? How will the secondary perform? Can we get to the quarterback? Is the Martzfense all hype? or is it for real? So much uncertainty exists with this team. By January this team could be 4-12 or 12-4, nothing would surprise me. I just don't know what to make of this team.
53: Number of Bears on the roster.
45: Number of players who will be active come Sunday. (My guess for inactives: K. Bell, C. Hanie, J. Moore, C. Steltz, C. Wootton, J. Webb, K. Davis, N. Roach)
2: Number of games the Lions have won the past 2 seasons combined.
BEARS: Craig Steltz (ankle) - Limited; Lance Briggs (ankle) - Limited; Major Wright (finger) - Full Participation; Desmond Clark (ankle) - Limited.
LIONS: DeAndre Levy (groin) - Did Not Participate; Louis Delmas (groin) - Limited.
When the Lions Have the Ball:
Calvin Johnson is an absolute beast of a receiver. He feasted on the Bears last year. Can our secondary handle him? Nate Burleson is a competent #2 for them. Jahvid Best is a lightning fast running back. Matthew Stafford has a big arm and should improve now that he's in his second year.
Their weakness has been their offensive line. They brought in Robert Sims to play left guard. (The Bears also looked into trading for him, but didn't meet Seattle's asking price.) Can their offensive line handle Julius Peppers? Jeff Backus isn't exactly Pro-Bowl caliber. Look for Detroit to run Best to the outside utilizing his speed. Look for them to get Calvin Johnson involved a lot to try and exploit our weak secondary.
Key Matchup: Julius Peppers vs. Jeff Backus. Peppers wins this one-on-one easily. How much help will Detroit send his way?
X-Factor: Major Wright? He's the best free safety on the Bears roster. If Calvin Johnson starts out with some big gains, look for Wright to come in the game to shore up the deep part of the field.
When the Bears Have the Ball:
Our offensive line vs. their defensive line was broken down extensively by Nique here. The Bears will try and establish the run first, then open up the passing game so our pass protection is a little easier. The Lions have a weak linebacker core, and their secondary is suspect. The Bears should be able to churn out lots of yards against these guys. Can they punch it in from the Red Zone?
Key Matchup: Mike Martz vs Detroit's Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham. Cunningham is a veteran who's seen it all. Will the Martzfense expose the weaknesses in Detroit's defense?
X-Factor: Greg Olsen. With a weak secondary & linebackers, the tight ends should be able to find lots of space. Everyone outside the organization says Martz won't use the TEs. Martz, Lovie, Jay, and the rest all say they will use the TEs extensively. I'm very curious to see how many targets go to the WRs, RBs, and TEs.