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Bears Vs Lions: Six-Pack Keys to Victory

We're offering our six keys for a Bears victory as they take on the Lions for the second time.

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

1) The Right Side

Looking at the stats and play groupings over on PFR, one thing is pretty apparent, especially if you look from the middle on over to the right and in the shorter plays and throws. Joique Bell on plays from the middle through the right tackle spot  had 13 carries for 75 yards. On completions thrown short and to the right Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate combined for 12 receptions for 114 yards. There was a lot of damage done over there on Thanksgiving day, and the Bears will have to do some work to slow them down. That includes the play of Shea McClellin and Tim Jennings.

2) The Running Game

It should be fairly obvious, but running seven designed runs is usually not a recipe to winning football games. Ka'Deem Carey only got two carries, but he still led the team in rushing yards that day against the Lions. (No, this is not the "Get dat Carey more carries" post.)

3) Jimmy Clausen

So now we get to the story of the week, the benching of Jay Cutler for Jimmy Clausen, in a scenario that could herald the removal of Cutler from the Bears, the continuing end of the current Bears' regime, or something in between or completely different. Either way, it'll be interesting to see how Clausen is used and how they trust him to make throws. Because Clausen will need to make throws in his first start since 2010 for the Bears to beat the Lions.

4) Kyle Long vs Ndamukong Suh, and Other Offensive Line Stories

Long got blasted in his first career game against Suh last year, but the last two games one could say Long's been doing a great job against Suh. The same can't be said for the rest of the offensive line against others, as Ziggy Ansah, Jason Jones, and Andre Fluellen each picked up a sack against Jay Cutler on Thanksgiving. Undrafted free agent Ryan Groy will be targeted as he starts at left guard again, and Jordan Mills and Jermon Bushrod will have their hands full.

5) The Revenge of Willie Young

Young had a sack taken away from him in Detroit, when he was also called for a roughing the passer penalty. He had a decent game in his first match against his former team, penalty aside, but let's see if he (and the rest of the Bears otherwise-absent pass rush) can get anything going against a Lions' unit that gave up two sacks to Jared Allen last time. Young has one and a half of the Bears' three sacks over the last two games, and the team has really slowed down in that respect.

6) Turnovers, Penalties, Etc

Let's just lump everything together into one "Eliminate mistakes" category, because the Bears have not shown they're one of those teams that can win unless they play a nearly flawless, mistake-free offensive and defensive game. Even more so when putting the backup quarterback in. Even more so when the defense hasn't shown to stop anybody all year and even more so when special teams, while slightly improved as the year's gone on with the addition of Marc Mariani as returner, are still just kind of a unit that... exists. Maybe Clausen can avoid turning the ball over at Jay Cutler's pace; maybe the offensive line and wide receivers can stop false-starting. Maybe a penalty won't instantly kill an offensive drive. That's a lot of maybes.