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Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions Game Preview

| November 26th, 2014

bears-lions-football-alshon-jeffery-darius-slay_pg_600

Nothing about this recent string of victories – and yes, two wins is considered a string – has been convincing. Nothing that has transpired in either game leads me to believe the 2014 Chicago Bears can line up against a good opponent and win. So…

Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

What Don’t I Like…

I don’t like the match-up for the Bears offensive line, which has played poorly of late. Detroit simply has too many good players along their defensive front for the Bears to block with any consistency. The only way to counter this mismatch would seem to be the Bears committing to the run game* against the best rush defense in the sport. (As you can tell I am not expecting many points from the Bears this week.)

*Not how I’d do it. See the next words.

How Would I approach the Lions?

Spread them out and chuck it.

Committing to the run early will put the Bears off-sequence in the passing game. Tom Brady and the Patriots ran the ball a total of six times in the first half against Detroit and went into the locker room with a 24-6 lead. And when they threw the ball, they threw it quickly. The Lions defense is still suspect in the secondary and if ever there was a game for Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery to assert their size and strength, this is it.

Seven Other Thoughts…

  • Bears need to keep feeding the ball to Marquess Wilson. As much as I ridicule fan expectations for a 7th round draft pick, the kid has the ability to get open. Drops happen, even to the best receivers, and the only way out of the habit is opportunities. If Cutler trusts Wilson, Sunday’s drops shouldn’t be a reason lose that trust.
  • Cutler’s pocket awareness will be center stage. He is going to get hit, most likely a lot. Giving the struggling Lions offense short fields with fumbles would be a disaster for the Bears.
  • Calvin Johnson is a sleeping giant and he’s been frustrated by brilliant secondary play in consecutive games. Don’t misread his low numbers of late for a decline in ability or injury residue. He’s been coached and played down. Can the Bears achieve this?
  • Two keys to the game for the Bears: Pat O’Donnell and Marc Mariani. O’Donnell has struggled with directional punting but that shouldn’t be a major issue with Jeremy Ross, who has lacked explosion in the Lions punt return game. Expect P.O.D. to go big leg Thursday. Midfield Mariani needs to make a few plays. He needs to give the Bears offense a few short fields.
  • The Bears should attack Rashean Mathis. He looked lost against the Patriots.
  • Bears pre-snap penalties should be focus area number one for the offense. Detroit’s crowd will make life miserable on them if they can’t get on same page about snap count. (Fact that this is an issue for professional football players boggles my mind.)
  • Expect 3-5 bubble screens to Alshon Jeffery. Patriots had success with Brandon LaFell on similar design.

Everyone has favorite Christmas movies…

But Thanksgiving really does get the shaft. Here are my three favorite Thanksgiving movies.

#3 Broadway Danny Rose is a madcap comedy and one of Woody Allen’s true cinematic triumphs. It’s also a quietly poignant story of a man who deeply loves those he works with and for, summarized beautifully in the film’s final scene: Rose (a low-level talent agent) and his many acts share Thanksgiving TV dinners in his apartment.

#2 Big Night has nothing to do with the holiday but it’s about two things: food and family. To me, that is a Thanksgiving movie. Here is the final scene, one of my favorite scenes in movie history:

#1 Planes, Trains & Automobiles is everyone’ choice as best Thanksgiving movie ever made and it should be. It gets unneeded bonus points around here for this Bears mention:

Three Bears That Need To Show Up

brandon-marshall-bowtie-giants-game-look

Final Score Prediction

Chicago Bears 16, Detroit Lions 13 (OT)

Tagged: , ,

  • Huge Bear’s Penis

    in doors on turf, d-line better be knocking Stafford around from their first play of the game.

    • Shady

      I’m looking for a big game from Jared Allen on the carpet.

      • DaBearsBlog

        I had to stop writing about Jared Allen.

        • CanadaBear

          Thank You!

      • AlbertInTucson

        Maybe being on “The Big Stage” will wake him up.

  • Luckily for Trestman, he doesn’t have to think much. Just do exactly what Bill did. Wish we could play every opponent after the Pats got through with them and showed us the blue-print.
    This might actually be a good game for Forte in the flats and wheel routes.
    As Jeff mentioned, the WRs (and TE) need to show up if we’re going to rely on the pass game.
    Is Gannon right? Will Cutler laser in on his #1WR then instantly dump it off? Can he not go through his progessions quickly enough? Does Cutler indeed struggle hitting crosses (on time and in stride)? Does he rattle easily? Guess we’ll find out.
    On D, yup, Jennings vs Tate will be the match-up cuz the other CB and S are going to be busy trying to cover Megatron.
    Front 7 must apply pressure, and fill the holes cuz the Lions have shifty HBs.

    I think this game will turn on momentum plays. Whoever makes the least mistakes and turnovers will win. The Lions have a bit of a cushion since they’re at home, but the Bears CANNOT afford penalties, dropped passes, “miscommunications”, or dumb plays on specials.

    Bears must play a very efficient, focused and MOTIVATED game on Thurs, from start to finish, or this game could taste worse than your aunt’s fruit pie.

    • DaBearsBlog

      This will sound odd coming from me but I think Marquess Wilson on those slants he kept dropping could be a huge factor.

      • Yeah, but Cutler + Slants/Crosses makes me nervous. VERY nervous.
        Something always seems to go wrong. Doesn’t see a S/LB sitting on the route. Tipped ball. Dropped passes. Thrown behind, at feet, overhead, etc etc

    • Cormonster

      Forte could have trouble on the underneath stuff if DeAndre Levy is shadowing him the whole game. He’s really fast and a good tackler. Not sure about this year, but last year he also had quite a few picks.

      • True. Forte struggled vs Keuchkly, and Cutler looked lost. I said back then, luckily we don’t play that type of LB every week, but Levy from memory is pretty good in those flats.

        If that’s the case, then Bennett needs to have a big game in the seams. Something again which inexplicably hasn’t happened on a consistent basis.

        I think the Lions are actually preparing for a tight low scoring game, and are only going to rush 4 and play zone, make Cutler beat them at their house on national TV on a short week on long drives. Cutler and CO must come out very crisp and patient.

  • Too bad MB is off, maybe he can give us the inside scoop on UCLA QB Brett Hundley.

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/11/25/ucla-qb-brett-hundley-plans-to-enter-the-2015-nfl-draft/#comments

    From one of the comments

    “As a UCLA alum and someone who has watched every Bruin game Hundley has played, this game is NOT ready to go to the NFL. He has a good arm and mobility, but has no pocket awareness, takes WAY too many sacks and is definitely lacking in accuracy. Part of it is the UCLA oline is
    atrocious but a good QB makes his OLine look better. Hundley takes too many hits and doesn’t seem to have that internal clock nor pocket presence to hide the deficiencies in the O-Line. Not only that but he
    tends to get quick feet and rarely looks to his second read.

    Pros: Good arm and mobility as well as high upside

    Cons: Just explained them”

  • BearDown100393

    Not that anyone asked (btw great movie choices), but the best Thanksgiving television moment was the Cheers episode with the food fight. Back to football. I hate the Lions. Extra hate points toward

    Ndamukong Suh. Don’t care for Stafford either. He looks like a hybrid of Rocky Dennis and Charlie Brown. This is garbage team specializing in garbage football complete with garbage antics. Don’t lose to these bastards on Thanksgiving before a national audience. No more prime time humiliation, please. I want to enjoy my dinner after the game. I don’t want to listen to commentators during the follow up games banter about the Bad News Bears. Get back to .500 with pride. And in the process, shut up a lot of the talking heads.

  • Viva

    Bears – 34
    Detroit – Dead QB

    When in doubt attack attack attack

    • GPLDAN

      FUCK the Lions.

  • BillW

    Tough game to predict. Lions love the whole Thanksgiving thing and often play well then. Not sure the Bears have the spirit to match that.

    So following on “what does trestman need to do to keep his job” theme – he does not need to win. But another horrible start will ramp up the volume on his being fired.

    So rather than this gsme being vital to his carer, I’d say the first quarter is vital. They better not get shut out yet again in Q1.

    My q1 prediction is Bears 10 lions 7.
    After that I have my doubrs. .Final point spread I think will be 8 or less. . I hope with the Bears on top.

    • I think it depends on HOW they come out. As long as the O can string a few first downs together and APPEAR energized, then I think that might be enough.
      Oddly enough, I expect a low scoring game.
      But yeah, needless to say, the Bears O has to put up points in the first half, I would say 7-10. Can’t go into half-time again with zero points and zero momentum. Can’t always face the Lovie Bucs.

      • BillW

        There is more than a good chance the Bears ride the good feeling of getting it together against lovie to a upbeat start. . I have another point you made me think of that I’ll put in another post

    • Lions don’t really play well on Thanksgiving. Prior to blowing out the Matt Flynn-led Packers last year, they had lost 9 games in a row on Turkey Day. 8 of those 9 were by double digits, 5 of them by 20+.

      http://sportslistoftheday.com/2011/11/24/detroit-lions-thanksgiving-day-results-all-time/

      • BillW

        Well in fairness to them they’ve really sucked for those years. . I’m probably flashbacking to Barry Sanders days

  • “Matthew Stafford has been sacked 33 times this season, just three off his career-worst mark from 2011.

    Only Colin Kaepernick has been sacked more times this season (34). Stafford is getting taken down once every 12.6 dropbacks, apreposterous number that’s helped contribute to his recent anemic play.
    Things may not get any better in Week 13, as there’s a good chance the Lions will be missing LT Riley Reiff (knee) on a short week.”-RotoWorld

    • BillW

      Good point. You know the fisherman will be up. Gives me a bit more optimism.

      Will the defense out perform the offense again?

      • BerwynBomber

        The O is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy overdue. Do you know our total yards against TB were 204 and TB has one of the worst defenses in the league?

      • That’s a good point. Allen was pretty pumped about facing the Vikes.
        A pumped-up Young would be a sight to behold.

        • BillW

          Against a bad line? 2 or 3 sacks for him would not be out of the realm. 1 or 2 seems quite do able

          • Detroit’s starting RT is on IR. That’s Young’s matchup.
            Also: their starting LT and RG (best interior OL guy) both have yet to practice this week and may or may not play. The RG Warford has all but been ruled out. Reiff (LT) seems likely to be a game time decision, from what I’ve seen.

    • BerwynBomber

      The Lions O-line is in shambles. Blogfather tweeted a link about it earlier in the day. Also, the Lions run ratio is probably low considering their W/L record; i.e., Stafford is probably racking up the pass attempts. Neither Joi Bell or Reggie Bush strike me as guys who get a ton of carries.

      With Kap I wonder how much it is attributable to his penchant to rely on his legs than his arms. You do that enough some defensive players will catch you behind the line and pile up a few sacks.

    • Stafford has always been made to look better than he is by a great OL and the best WR in the NFL.

      Now the OL isn’t great and Megatron has been hobbled, and lo and behold… he’s not that good (though that’s been pretty obvious the last 2 years too).

  • GPLDAN

    Ford Field is a track meet surface. If there was a time to get back to hitting the long ball, Detroit is that place. I haven’t seen anybody get behind the safeties all year. Wilson should be that guy, and not sure about Jeffery’s hammy if he can flat out stretch run on it or not.

    • BillW

      I was impressed with jefferys ability to play at a good level when he was hurt earlier in the year. . Seems like a gamer. . Hell of a possession receiver if that’s what his hamstring dictates

  • GPLDAN

    Long all but copped to the fact that Suh owned him both games last year.

    We will see how it goes this time.

    • CanadaBear

      I thought Kyle played better in the second game.

  • I don’t think Tate will match up with Jennings a ton. Lions have been putting him in the slot a lot, so that will mean Hurst. That matchup scares me.

    • DaBearsBlog

      Is Hurst going into the slot with Fuller possibly out?

      Eh, does it even matter?

      • Hurst has been playing the slot in nickel for weeks. It’s been Jennings on one side, Fuller on the other (or Louis-Jean when Fuller’s out), and Hurst as the nickelback.

        • DaBearsBlog

          I was hoping that was an in-game adjustment. If Louis-Jean is on Calvin Johnson a single time, touchdown.

          • I’m expecting mostly zone looks. Maybe I’m wrong on that.
            But they didn’t move the CBs around against Tampa that I saw after Fuller went down. It was always Jennings on his side and Louis-Jean on his, and they just matched whatever WR was opposite them.

  • “Two keys to the game for the Bears: Pat O’Donnell and Marc Mariani”

    Bingo. Bears won with Lovieball last week, and they’ll need to do it again to win here.

    Detroit’s offense sucks hard (scoring less than MIN or TB). Their OL is in shambles (look to be minus both starting OTs and their best interior lineman in this game), they can’t run it to save their life, and Megatron just hasn’t been Megatron due to an ankle injury.

    Chicago’s game plan needs to be winning a low-scoring defensive battle by playing field position and turnovers. Dominate Detroit’s OL, force Stafford into mistakes, and avoid turning it over yourself. Win the hidden yards in ST.

    I don’t know that Chicago can execute that terribly well in a hostile road environment, but that’s the path to a win. Thankfully the “short passes” part plays really well into what they like to do.

    • and when the Bears do run, they actually match up pretty well there. Detroit is better defending the run on the edges (2.8 ypc) than between the tackles (3.6 ypc). Chicago is better running between the tackles (4.6 ypc) than on the edges (4.3 ypc). Look for some draws and traps to be used between the tackles in an attempt to slow down Detroit’s pass rush.

  • BillW

    Bears will have no full practices before this game. . Irony anyone? . Let’s say they also have their first 30 plus point game. . Mr. “we practice so well” might have to think that one through.

    Out on a limb here but I’m going with this. . Bears 30 something. Lions whatever

    • I don’t think either team hits 20 in this game.

      • BillW

        My Bears sense vs your logic. .

    • BillW

      I will be on Thurs night to gloat.

      You’re welcome fans!

  • Agree about Wilson, Jeff. The kid has been getting looks because he’s getting open. Everything I’ve seen on film and read about him prior to last week says he has good hands. I’m assuming the dropsies won’t become a regular thing.

    • BillW

      He will likely be open. I hope Jay doesn’t treat him like hester.

      • unlike Hester, Wilson is an actual WR who is mentally capable of learning the offense and understands how to play the position. Jay won’t treat him like that because Wilson is actually capable of running the correct routes on a consistent basis.

        Jay trusts him. It’s plain to see watching the games. Willing to look at him in big spots and throw him the ball in traffic.

  • BillW

    Hey JWood (or anyone) . Why do you think tresty is not putting in or calling more rollouts?

    • no idea. It’s blatantly obvious to do and has generally been successful the few times they’ve done it.

    • BerwynBomber

      Rollouts limit the playing field for the QB. Unless a QB tries to throw across his body as Jay did on that INT to the Bills D-lineman the first game of the season.

      • there’s a lot of thought out there that Cutler performs better when you give him only half the field to read. Rollouts are something they need to use.

        • BerwynBomber

          Yeah, I was thinking the same thing of Cutler. He is slow in his progressions and limiting them mitigates one of his liabilities.

          • SC Dave

            Wouldn’t rolling out just encourage situations in which our “QB tries to throw across his body”?

  • CanadaBear

    Hopefully we show up on Thursday. Here’s an oldie but a goodie against the Kitties on Turkey Day. Enjoy!

    http://sportsmockery.com/2014/11/greatest-chicago-vs-detroit-sports-moments-history/

  • Huge Bear’s Penis

    if i recall correctly – Bears have been pretty good at knocking Stafford out of games over the years. here’s hoping the d-line hits him hard.

  • Big Mike

    I’m so bored by the “build up” to this game. Bears have done nothing to impress (as Jeff stated). I’m going with this. At some point the talent on the field will perform up to their ability. Thought that would be last week. Offense looked lost, or like they just met each other. O-line struggles expected when your playing different guys every week. Look for improvement as the unit begins to come together.

    Defense is the key.

    • BearDown100393

      The Bears played decent in Atlanta (dome). Now they are playing at Detroit (dome). And the opponent is the Lions. That is all I’ve got on this one.

      • Big Mike

        Yeah, that’s something. I almost forgot that game. They’ve gone downhill since. Maybe the turf is what they need.

      • Atlanta has a terrible defense. Detroit does not. Pretty big difference there.

  • wreckinball

    O must score score score to win

    Not sure they have it in them, Hope jeffs win prediction is right but his score prediction is way low Lions will score at least 21 to 28 Bears need 1 more than that

    • Lions are averaging 17ppg (less than MIN or TB) and hasn’t scored a TD in over 10 quarters. I’m not expecting either team to score a ton

      • DaBearsBlog

        (I can see the Bears being shut out.)

        And losing 9-0

        • CanadaBear

          Jeff, it’s the Kitties. You know they will do something stupid to give us a short field. We should at least get a FG!

        • I would not be shocked by a shutout. That’s why I think turnovers will be so key in this game. Points should be tough to come by, so get as many easy ones as you can (and avoid giving them to the other team). Win with Lovieball.

        • BearDown100393

          I don’t. At the very worse either Robbie or the defense will put points on the board.

  • Bears-4-Ever

    “If Cutler trusts Wilson, Sunday’s drops shouldn’t be a reason lose that trust.”

    This is one of the best lines in your post Jeff because if Cutty does get hit alot, which I agree with you, it’s going to happen…then I expect Cutty to “freak-out” and try and force throw the ball to BM…I expect Wilson to be open on many a play, but if Cutty is in “freak-out” mode Wilson is going to be ignored and we’re going to have 3 Cutty interceptions before you can say pass the gravy. If Cutty can keep his cool and recognize that Wilson should be on his short list of targets, we might have a chance. IF cutty keeps his cool and is not taken out by Suh….we have a chance. I don’t expect much from the Bear vs. Detroit but dammit it would be awesome to see a Bear win! BEAR DOWN!!!

    • SC Dave

      Agree with this. It’s time for Jay to shine on the big stage.

  • Peanut FTW

    I’ll go with 30 to 28 Bears. I think Robbie gets his first field goal since Oct 12th and then gets off the schneid by hitting a game winner late.

  • CanadaBear

    We have a slim chance against the Kitties. The only real reason for optimism is it’s the Kitties. They always do some dumb, illegal, cheap shot shit that keeps other teams in the game. I get the feeling Willie is REALLY excited about hitting Stafford. The way Rat and Paea are playing Stafford will have trouble stepping up. Once he starts moving around his mechanics go out the window. He starts throwing off the back foot and a lot of sidearm throws waiting to get picked or batted down. I have no confidence in the O or ST’s (although the new guy does give me some hope) but the D just might rise to the occasion and win one the Lovie way. BEAR THE FUCK DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • CanadaBear

    Don’t get me wrong I have no love for the Fudgies and the BiQueens aren’t exactly a fave. However, the Kitties are the team I hate the most. All the cheap shots over the years really chaps my hide. I used to feel sorry for their fans but the one year they made the playoffs they made BiQueen fans look like standup guys vs the loud mouth, clueless pussies they always were.

  • Jack Lacan

    Just asking — Should one eat Thanksgiving food before or after the game? Is there any guarantee on not having to throw up?

    • I successfully convinced my in-laws to move Thanksgiving dinner from 1:00 to 4:00 so I could watch the game. Helps that the father in law was All-State OL in high school and is a Bears fan (though not the type who has to watch every game. it’s more of an “if I have the time” kind of thing).

    • CanadaBear

      The game is on at 9:30 out here. Definitely after.

  • Bear Down in Tampa

    DLP to IR, DAAAAAAAAAAAMN IT!

    • GPLDAN

      Who plays LG? Mills?

      • Bear Down in Tampa

        Ola, mills back at RT.

  • Cormonster

    Here’s a pretty good article on Cutler from a Lions fan perspective. My good buddy sent it to me.

    http://www.prideofdetroit.com/2014/11/26/7287393/bears-player-to-watch-against-lions-jay-cutler

    • Old broken romanian Jericho

      I chuckled when it turned out to be an SB Nation article. Its amusing when people start using passes to matt fucking forte as some sort if detrimental aspect of cutlers game. Laughable. You may as well say that you should simply ignore bradys use of Wes Welker underneath all those years because the ball didn’t travel far enough in the air. Fucking insanity that you guys read and rely on for context.

      • SC Dave

        Bottom line is that the Bears have done poorly this year at getting the ball down field, and tomorrow would be a good time to start changing that.

    • SC Dave

      I thought it not entirely unreasonable. We need Good Jay tomorrow, but I’m scared of the fumbles. Eleven already this year… ugh.

  • wreckinball

    Drinking and eating in excess so all will be good. Don’t buy into low scoring at least on the lions part but we’ll see.

    Just win baby

  • TheBigCheesy

    How can the Lions giving 7 points when they haven’t scored a touchdown in 3 weeks?

    • wreckinball

      They’re not playing the Pats?

  • Shady
  • Old broken romanian Jericho

    Bears win tomorrow because Detroit can’t handle our weapons. Detroit has dodged too many bullets and sooner or later one will find its way to their vitals.
    bears have already taken headshots and are rising like Michael Myers.

    you can’t stop cutler, Marshall, alshon and forte on a carpet with no rain. Fucking chuck that ball up street style and watch em all say, “damn”.

    • CanadaBear

      Hope you’re right Johnny! Happy Turkey Day!

    • SC Dave

      Tomorrow, I’m not sure exactly what will be open. But plan B is a pregame toast to Jay and Johnny of Fuller’s London Pride.

      Not sure if that qualifies as a “craft” beer, but it’s new to me so it will have to serve as backup if’n I cain’t get me to a proper tap room.

      • BillW

        I’ve not seen,London pride around Chicago. Had several during a day trip to London last year. (from Paris) . I loved it.

  • Doc Hamstring

    I don’t care how good the movie is, if it involves Woody Allen, I refuse to watch it. I hated his act before I found out he molested his kids, and now I just want to punch him in the taint every time I see his name. Don’t contribute to his wealth.

  • SC Dave

    That Big Night scene was an abject, complete waste of five minutes.

  • ErikGrogan

    A little late to the party but oh, well. I have recently been watching the games on NFL Mobile and using Chromecast. Well, I can’t do that now because the NFL made it to where the app won’t mirror onto the TV.

    With family in town and I don’t have cable or dish, I decided to see who will broadcast it. Well, CBS will be broadcasting the Bears and Lions game. Cool and wait, they offer a free trial on their live streaming shows and TV? Sign me up.

    But wait..

    First, it needs your location to see if they can provide the live TV in your area. Yeah, I can’t get it in my area but guess what the kicker was anyway…

    CBS does not stream NFL games.

    So. Fuck. My. Life.

    Have a happy Thanksgiving though. Love y’all.

    • johnnywad

      Can’t you just buy a cheap antenna and connect it to whatever TV you’re watching? Should be all set. Unless I’m missing something.

      Happy Thanksgiving Artoo

      • Artoo

        I have that but it’s not picking up CBS.

        • johnnywad

          Damn. Sucks

  • johnnywad

    Because this offense is a sleeping giant. Its a wolf in 11 games worth of sheep’s clothing. I’m going to stuff myself all afternoon and watch this offense tear down this bull shit Lions team. That’s why.

    • Old broken romanian Jericho

      Bull.shit.lions.team.dead.

  • AlbertInTucson

    Hopes, high.

    Expectations, low.

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