Not a traditional version of “Monday Morning Quarterback”, this week’s edition will look ahead rather than behind due to the Bears bye week.
A winless Detroit Lions team coming to Soldier Field presents a nightmare scenario should the Bears not come out and play on top of their game. To lose to the Lions following a bye week to rest your players and heal any injuries would be inexplicable.
The Lions have played better the past three weeks, a 12-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 6, a 28-21 loss to Houston Texans in Week 7, and a 25-17 loss to the Washington Redskins yesterday. The Lions were in position to win all three of those games.
But these Lions still lack sufficient talent to come into Chicago and push the Bears around. Dan Orlovsky is still taking snaps under center and has but one legitimate weapon at his disposal, wide receiver Calvin Johnson. The Lions are still 31st in the league in rushing yards and will be facing a Bears defense that is 6th in the league at defending it.
Even the Bears’ pass defense — which has proven to be woeful this season, currently ranked 29th — doesn’t have much to fear against the Lion’s 22nd-ranked passing attack.
But the ball bounces in funny ways sometimes and one slip-up by the Bears in a close game could make them the Lions’ first triumph and an embarrassment to Chicagoans.
The weather will undoubtedly be colder this week than it was two Sundays ago against the Vikings, so Kyle Orton and the high powered passing game will get its first real test in adverse conditions. To help alleviate some of the burden, the Bears might want to try to get their running game going against a bad Lions run defense, a unit that held Matt Forte to just 36 yards on 15 carries in their previous matchup on Oct. 5.
The Lions gave up 126 yards to Clinton Portis yesterday, 142 combined yards to Steve Slaton and Ahman Green in Week 7, and 111 yards to Adrian Peterson in Week 6. If the Bears get shut down for a second time by this Lions defense, they’ll know they have serious run blocking problems and might need to look at inserting Chris Williams sooner than planned.
On the injury front, wide receiver Brandon Lloyd was back on the practice field Monday after missing four weeks due to a sprained knee he suffered against Philadelphia. His return further solidifies the receiving corps that held down the fort in his absence. Cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Nathan Vasher were without helmets at this morning’s practice, but nickelback Danieal Manning took part in a portion of practice.
It is hoped that the team will have all, or most, of it’s weapons for the Lions game. Not that they’re all needed, though. If it came down to risking further injury or playing without Tillman or Vasher for another game, I’d go with the latter.