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Three Keys Against the Lions: Defense

Well, at least this time, #44 can't get lost in the pile and spring for a touchdown.
Well, at least this time, #44 can't get lost in the pile and spring for a touchdown.

1) Can the Improved Safety Play Hold Up?

The last time these two faced off, Chris Harris was coming back from injury to "save the secondary"... and proceeded to have what might be called a "not good" game, getting sucked into the scrum as Jahvid Best darted off towards the end zone. Chris Conte has since moved into the starting lineup and held his own, but can that continue? It'll need to, but there is hope - positionally, the safeties have been a little more solid and haven't let many guys behind them.

With Best out, the likelihood of the 88-yard run isn't as likely, but the safeties will need to help over the top - the Lions have some guy you might have heard of named Calvin Johnson...

2) Is Calvin Johnson slowing down this year?

Last time we played, the Lions' stud was on a 2-TD-per-game pace and playing out of his mind. Since then, he's caught two touchdowns in three games. Yeah, I know, if that's considered "slowing down" then I'll take that every week. Last time Johnson had one of his best games against the Bears, but over Johnson's eight games against Chicago, the Bears have held Megatron to an average line of 4.8 receptions, 76.8 yards and half a touchdown (4 in his career against the Bears). For comparison against division foes, the Packers have allowed 8 TDs to him in 7 games, and the Vikings have allowed 6 in their eight contests, with roughly the same receptions. He's good, but historically, the Bears have been able to hold him from getting into the end zone.

3) Lions Having An Underrated Season

By this I'll point to two people - tight end Brandon Pettigrew and Titus Young. The Lions throw the ball a LOT - they have as many receptions (185) as carries (187), and Pettigrew is really picking up as a second option with 41 receptions for 360 yards and 2 TDs. Couple that with the Bears' reluctance to acknowledge the existence of other teams' tight ends and you can bet he'll be an option for Detroit for a chunk of the game. The other, Young, is the Lions' draft pick who currently has 19 receptions for a 14.5 yards-per-rec, which is second on the team behind Johnson's 17.1. With the Lions having to rely on Maurice Morris in the running game, expect them to throw more, which means more looks to these two.