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The Bears' Three Keys Against The Lions: Offense

We just got done looking at the defensive side of the ball; let's turn our attention to the offensive side and see what the Bears might be able to do against a Detroit defense that's been better than in years past.

1) How does the Bears' offensive line handle the best defensive line they've seen this season?

Dom went into this in very good detail on Thursday, and I'll try my best to avoid stepping on his toes. I've made no secret that on this defensive unit, the line is the part that scares me the most and with good reason. I don't see Nick Fairley making a whole lot of noise on Monday, and not for lack of trying - he's still getting up to game speed and I think he'll be rotated in a fair amount. After initially ranting and raving silently to myself that Frank Omiyale is still going to see the field, it makes sense - I wouldn't want a one-armed Chris Spencer going up against Ndamukong Suh, with or without Garza's help. So putting Louis back at guard and sticking Omiyale at tackle makes some sense - Louis, one of the team's sturdier linemen, goes against the Lions' most dominant lineman. Cliff Avril's a decent lineman in his own right, but which one worries you the most? That's what I thought. Unless Kellen Davis gets stuck on an island against Avril, Suh's the more likely lineman to turn Cutler into a funny hat.

2) Will the Bears get off the bus balanced?

While it was nice to see Martz willing to run the ball against Carolina, that wasn't exactly the gameplan most of us had in mind. More runs than passes? I think most of us had a 55-45 split pass-run in mind, not 60-40 run-pass.

That being said, Forte again will need to be a contributor in this game, no matter how he gets the ball. Carolina had quite possibly the worst run defense the NFL has seen in a while, and Forte probably could have gotten a Mack truck to drive through some of the line's opened up holes. The Lions' rushing defense? While they may by strict definition be "kind of bad," not so much - they've allowed a 4.8 YPC on the ground (23rd) in only 95 carries (11th fewest), but only one rushing touchdown on the season. The Bears can tick that number up, but there's no way the Bears run 30 times back-to-back. Against the Lions' front four and revamped linebacking corps, I don't see the run game having the same dominance the Bears enjoyed against Carolina.

3) Will the Bears' receivers actually cooperate in a game?

Whether we're cursing out Johnny Knox for rounding off a route causing a pick, Roy Williams for practicing his first-down gesture more than actually catching the football, or Earl Bennett for being injured, seems like all we've done is curse about the receiving corps except for Red Zone Weapon Sanzenbacher. And no, I'm not clamoring for Sanzenbacher to be the number one receiver.

I can see this being a game where the Bears have to use the short passing game in order to get anything in the air, whether it be screens and swings to Forte or slants, screens, drags and curls to the receivers. If it's the latter, the receivers will have to do two things they haven't been accustomed to so far this year - get open and make the catch. The Bears have some dangerous after-the-catch weapons, the problem is the "catch" part. So with Bennett still down, yes, Sanzenbacher will still be trying to make some of the Bennett plays - if the Bears have to throw short, Cutler will be looking towards Sanzenbacher quite often with Knox and Hester stretching the defense deep to open up the underneath plays.