We're just about to get into the divisional rematches, and of course that means the customary switch-up of the title. And the rematch against the Lions can't come at a better time, as the winner of this game takes a decent head start into the latter stretch of the season as the NFC North leader. The Bears can undo the Lions' win at Ford Field with their own win at Soldier Field. The Lions can sweep the series against the Bears and likewise be the first NFC North team to six wins.
Since Our Last Meeting: Since the Lions beat the Bears to advance to 3-1, they split the next four games, as they lost to the Packers and the Bengals, yet beat the Browns as well as the Cowboys.
Total Yardage: 3328 (3rd)
Total Points: 217 (6th)
Passing Yardage: 2543 (2nd)
Rushing Yardage: 785 (21st)
Total Yardage: 3048 (25th)
Total Points: 197 (18th)
Passing Yardage: 2180 (26th)
Rushing Yardage: 868 (14th)
So What's New?: They still mostly operate as the same Detroit Lions - they still lead the league in passing attempts and they still have their season high in rushing yards against the Bears. Even better, the Lions come in off their bye week, whereas the Bears come in off a short week having just faced the Packers. It's a conspi-- Ahem, sorry.
In all seriousness, things haven't been all roses and rainbows for the Lions since Week 4. In addition to the indefinite loss of Nate Burleson (who's still out with a pizza-induced broken arm), the team's also placed Ryan Broyles on injured reserve - this after the Titus Young saga seriously put a cramp on the Lions' ability to field multiple receivers. Kris Durham's slid into the de facto number two wide receiver role and done so to decent effect, and Brandon Pettigrew's between-the-20s checkdown-ness still gives way to Joseph Fauria's red-zone effectiveness. Of Fauria's eight receptions this season, five of them have gone for touchdowns.
Matthew Stafford's still putting up a pretty good year, and is doing so on a team that has allowed less sacks than the Bears. Hm, there's some correlation between pass protection/offensive line play and good quarterback play, but I just can't get through to get the point home.
Defensively, fifth-overall draft pick Ziggy Ansah is questionable at this point, but that still doesn't do anything about Nick Fairley or Ndamukong Suh. That being said, I'd like to point out that with a five-sack explosion against the Packers, the Bears now have surpassed the Lions in rushing the passer, 14 to 13. Three of the Lions' sacks have come from the aforementioned Ansah, and another two have come from blitzing linebacker Stephen Tulloch.
If the Bears are to win on Sunday, first and foremost is probably ensuring Reggie Bush doesn't beat them like he did back in the first match, with those huge holes in the defensive line being ripped open - the Bears still haven't figured out how to play the run, if some of the holes Green Bay opened up were any indication. Bad enough that Calvin Johnson can catch balls with all eleven defenders knowing it's going to him, but if a team like the Lions continues to develop a second half to the offense, this can get dangerous in a hurry.
And second is making the most of the open targets on the roster - the Bears have enough weapons that they should be able to find an open guy and get the ball to him. If the offensive line can keep a struggling Lions pass rush off Josh McCown or Jay Cutler (whichever's starting, depending on whom you want to listen to), there are plays to be made against the Lions cornerbacks.
More from Windy City Gridiron:
- Chicago Bears sign long snapper Jeremy Cain as Patrick Mannelly insurance
- WCG Pick 'Em: Week 10
- The Bears Den: November 06, 2013 - Week 10 news and notes
- NFL Power Rankings: Chicago Bears win, but how far will they move up?
- NFC Playoff Picture: Bears ride victory over Packers to 3-way tie for division
- Chicago Bears snap count breakdown vs the Green Bay Packers