The Chicago Bears know that despite their 3-0 start, it could have been very different if it wasn’t for a play or two that went their way. On the other end, the Detroit Lions continue to feel like they don’t have enough offensive weapons healthy enough to help their quarterback.
With a 2-1 start, the Lions should be pleased that this season is going differently than last year, but they still find themselves struggling to get something more than just the Matthew Stafford – Calvin Johnson connection. Nate Burleson is injured, and if Reggie Bush is still not fit enough to play, it’s going to be a big problem moving the chains, and it’ll once more force Stafford to take unnecessary risks against the best defense in the NFL when it comes to creating turnovers and scoring off of them.
The Chicago Bears have less worries about their offense as Jay Cutler seems better than before in handling pressure thanks to an improved offensive line and a more careful set of plays he’s following, making him less predictable and the Bears about more than just looking for Brandon Marshall all the time. However, with the Henry Melton injury, their defense won’t be able to apply its usual pressure, which might hurt it even more as it struggles in containing teams from moving up field.
There’s no doubt that the Stafford – Johnson partnership is working wonderfully, but it’s not enough for the Lions to claim a playoff spot in the NFC North, which won’t have the Packers with a losing record for much longer. Johsnon has caught 17 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns, but without Bush or Burleson, the Lions are going to struggle in providing the right kind of offense to beat the Bears – Bush has a total of 260 yards from scrimmage in the first two games, while Burleson has caught 19 passes for 239 yards so far this season.
The Bears will continue to keep things simple, and force Cutler to keep it short, be it by dumping the ball to Matt Forte, who has 363 yards this season in both rushing and receiving, taking the pressure off Brandon Marshall (269 yards, 20 receptions), who continues to be Cutler’s favorite target.
Prediction – The Detroit Lions have the defensive line to pressure Cutler, but it’s not going to be enough considering how well the Bears have done against the Bengals and Steelers this season. Without enough offensive weapons to make it a fair fight, the Bears should remain undefeated after this game as well.