Statistically, the Bears and Lions do not appear to be very different teams. Sure their records are different with the Bears sitting at 2-3 and the Lions at 0-5 but other than that they don't seem to different.
The Lions offense ranks one spot ahead of the Bears in offensive yards per game (321.2 to 316.4), they both have run the exact same number of scrimmage players (327), the Bears have scored a field goal more than their opponent (86 to 83) and their points per game is nearly even as well: 17.2 for Chicago, 16.6 for Detroit.
The defensive stats tell a similar story. While their yardage ranks differ, with Chicago sitting fourth and Detroit way down in 22nd, that stat doesn't tell the whole story. Both teams have allowed a similar number of points: 142 for Chicago, 138 for Detroit. They both allow about same yards per rush to their opponents; 4.3 for for the Lions, 4.4 for the Bears. Their pass defense has struggled; the Lions have allowed nine touchdown passes and the Bears 11.
Even the penalties aren't much different: 32 for Detroit, 39 for Chicago.
So what is the biggest difference between these teams?
While the penalties are similar, the Lions have turned the ball over 15 times compared to the Bears' seven. The Lions have lost twice as many fumbles as the Bears have, six and have nine thrown nine interceptions to the Bears' four (each team's back up has thrown a pick).
If the Bears want to keep their winning ways going they are going to need to capitalize on the mistakes of Detroit and make few of their own. While the Bears defense has been rounding into shape, turnovers have been few and far between. The Bears have just two interceptions on the season and just one defensive fumble recovery (which really came on special teams). Detroit has more sacks than Chicago as well (12 to nine), so the Bears defense needs to keep trending up and starting getting turnovers in order to really jump ahead.
With this in mind, here are this week's key players:
Adrian Amos, S - It's always the same story with Detroit; opponents have to slow down Calvin Johnson. Megatron is still one of the best receivers in the game but his quarterback has been struggling. The best way to make sure that those struggles continue is to take away his favorite target. Johnson has downright abused the Bears since Charles Tillman left and while Kyle Fuller has improved a little bit the past couple of games, it's not quite time for him to take on Johnson yet. That will be on Tracy Porter.
Amos comes in because he will be asked to help out over the top deep. Amos has been playing well and has been getting rave reviews from fans and media alike, but this will be a big test. If Amos is going to be the long-sought after safety of the future for Chicago he needs to make plays on the ball. If Porter can do against Johnson as he did against Amari Cooper, then Amos could have a chance to create a turnover.
Sam Acho, OLB - While Pernell McPhee is the easy choice, at this point we know what we're getting with McPhee week in and week out. McPhee is a beast and the best player on defense to this point. He is a wrecking ball and he is the straw that stirs the defense's drink. With that being said though, someone other than McPhee has been a difference maker and I believe that this week it should be Acho. Acho has done the most with his opportunities since Jared Allen was traded and has been seeing more snaps. He needs to get involved rushing the passer as well as continuing to be a solid tackler and run defender.
Matt Forte, RB - Forte is the Bears' offensive MVP this year, even with Jay Cutler's resurgence and game-winning heroics the past two games. Forte is Mr. Everything and continues to be the key cog in the Bears' offense. Part of the reason that the Bears' defense ranks higher in defensive yardage stats than in points allowed, is because the offense does so well in time of possession. The Bears rank 11th in the league in offensive TOP with an average of 31:14 of possession per game. This allows their defensive issues to be masked, for example, the Bears D ranks fourth against the pass in yards allowed per game but has given up 11 pass touchdowns. They rank fourth overall but have surrendered the fifth-most points. Their TOP has allowed them to hide these deficiencies while their defense has worked out its kinks.
The defense is improving but the TOP must remain and Forte is a key part of that. The Lions rush defense ranks 27th and they have allowed eight rushing TDs, second most in the league. Forte has only one rushing TD this season but this is a favorable match up for him and a chance for him to reach into the endzone.
Honorable mentions: The "always a key players:" Jay Cutler, McPhee, Jeremiah Ratliff. Others for this week: Porter, Alshon Jeffery and Marquess Wilson