How weird is it that the actual game feels like a distraction from the silly goings-on at Halas Hall. These last few weeks, it's been one situation after another, so it has to be a relief for the players to just get out on the field and play football.
Windy City Gridiron: The Chicago Bears drafted offensive guard Kyle Long, in part to battle with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, how would you assess Long's play three games into the match-up?
I'd say he's done an admirable job in the last two meetings (not so much in his first one early last season). It's not like Suh has been wreaking havoc on every single snap, but then again, that's never really been how he makes an impact. More than anything, Suh's biggest attribute is that he requires so much attention and is often on the receiving end of double teams. This frees up room and let's guys like Ziggy Ansah, Jason Jones and George Johnson go to work on the opposing quarterback.
WCG: Speaking of Suh, Bears fans would love to see him out of Detroit as soon as possible. With his contract negotiations breaking down, what are the odds he's gone after this season?
This is complete speculation, but I'd probably say 60-40 in favor of leaving. That's based on the notion that the Lions really can't afford to franchise him, the fact that contract negotiations haven't taken place since the summer and the idea that his value has only gone up this season. If Suh truly doesn't want to be here, he will have lots of options elsewhere.
The flip side is that everything has really come together on defense for the Lions this year. They have one of the top defenses in the league, and Suh has been an integral part in their success. Losing him would crush the defense, and I think the Lions may be more willing to increase their offer to him now than they were four months ago. It remains to be seen if they will give him the best offer out there, but they'd be foolish to let him leave just as their defense has finally become so dominant.
WCG: The Lions have one of the best defenses in the NFL one year after firing their defensive minded head coach? Did you expect the defense to be this good in 2014?
Nobody did. All offseason we heard about how the Lions didn't do enough at the cornerback position and how they were once again going to have to rely on their offense. In reality, though, Teryl Austin has taken the defense to another level with a lot of the same pieces that Jim Schwartz had. And instead of having to rely on the offense, the Lions have been carried this season by the defense. It's really been a shocking development all season.
WCG: The NFC North title could come down to Detroit's week 17 game against the Packers in Green Bay, do you like their chances in that game?
Considering the Lions haven't won a road game against the Packers since 1991, I never really like their chances of winning at Lambeau Field. And that's especially true for a game that will likely be at night with so much on the line.
Then again, the Lions have already handled the Packers once this season, and we just saw Buffalo do something very similar to Aaron Rodgers last week. Plus, the losing streak at Lambeau has to end at some point for the Lions, and if there's ever a time to finally get a win, this would be the year.
WCG: Prediction time, how many points will the Lions win by? And just for giggles, give us a scenario in which the Bears actually win the game.
I'm expecting a similar margin of victory to the one we saw on Thanksgiving when the Lions won by 17 points. I tend to think the scoring on each side will be lower given that the Lions are going outdoors and the Bears are starting Jimmy Clausen, but at least on paper, this is a game Detroit should win by double digits.
As for a scenario where the Lions could lose, it's actually not that hard to imagine. The Lions haven't won a game in "cold" weather in a long time, and it wouldn't be surprising at all if the offense struggles to get things going outside. On top of that, it's not like the Lions have any real recent film on Clausen, and it's unclear what the Chicago offense will look like this week. Throw in the potential for a couple of missed field goals given the conditions at Soldier Field and this is a game that could certainly slip away if the Lions aren't careful.
Thanks again to Sean for the info!
I also answered a few questions about the Bears from Sean and you can find those right here.