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Week 5 Preview: Bears vs Lions, Division Rivals Meet in Detroit

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 The 2-2 Bears will face the 4-0 Detroit Lions in Detroit, on Monday Night Football. Detroit is playing red hot and is arguably the hottest team in the NFL right now, along with the undefeated Green Bay Packers, who would have thought? 

Despite coming off a win against the Carolina Panthers, which to some felt like a loss, the Bears have a good chance at winning this game. The Chicago Bears have won 6 straight games against the Detroit Lions and haven't lost to them in 3 seasons. The Lions have an impressive streak going on as well. Excluding the post-season, they have the longest winning streak of regular season games, sitting at 8 from last season.

Their last two victories, they were down by 20 at halftime to the Vikings, and down 24 to the Cowboys at halftime. The Lions came back to win both of those games. If the Bears jump on the Lions, do not expect the Bears to squander the lead like those other teams did. It's an odd formula the Lions have, their defense ranks high in most team stats yet they play awful in the 1st half.

Detroit has a solid pass and rush defense, so if the Bears can't have a balanced attack this week, it could get ugly. Last week Jay Cutler only had 9 completions and the Bears *BEARLY* threw the ball. Matt Forte racked up 205 yards on 25 carries. If the Bears enter this game and play one dimensionally, the Lions are going to tear them up. Cutler and Martz are going to have to open the field up so the Lions don't stack 8 in the box and just play to stop Matt Forte. Last week Forte joined the ranks of Walter Payton and Gale Sayers as the only Chicago Bears running backs to rush for 200+ yards in a game. He's in good company now. 

Defensively the Bears have a huge task at hand, slow down the red hot Lions offense. They rank 2nd in the NFL in points with 33.8 a game and are averaging 301.2 passing yards a game. The upside is that they rank 2nd to last in rushing yards with 74.5 a game. If the Bears don't have to focus on Jahvid Best getting too many carries, they can put the focus more on Megatron, Calvin Johnson.

Through 4 games, Calvin Johnson has 24 catches for 321 yards and 8 touchdowns. Johnson is the only WR in NFL history to have 2 TD's a week, every week, through 4 games. Going against a defense that gave up 524 yards to the Carolina Panthers last week, if the Bears don't dial up some pressure up front, it could be a long day. This is where Julius Peppers becomes paramount to the success of the Bears. Peppers has had a sack in every career meeting vs the Lions, including one last season in Week 1 that sidelined Matt Stafford for the entire season. 

Why do I think the Bears defense will step up and slow down Calvin Johnson? Chris Harris. 

Chris Harris is likely to return from a hamstring injury and Harris is instrumental in not giving up the big play. Without Harris in the line-up the Bears defense has dropped to 2nd to last in the NFL in yards given up. This is due to the lack of experience at the safety position. The Bears have been rotating Brandon Meriweather (new to the system), Major Wright (inexperienced), and Craig Steltz (blah). If Chris Harris doesn't play in the game, expect Calvin Johnson to go for 200 yards receiving. Last week Steve Smith had 181 yards and could have had 200 if Cam Newton didn't overthrow him on a couple passes. 

The game is 11 hours away, BEAR DOWN CHICAGO!

My prediction : Bears are the first team to defeat the Detroit Lions, final score 34-31. 

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