The Bears showed poise and calmness on the field, both in offense and defense. They have beaten three 2012 playoff teams, two at Soldier Field and one on the road.
With the Bears headed to Motor City, it is crucial that they keep focused on one game at a time.
With Green Bay at 1-2, the Bears have a fighting chance to stay on top. The Lions have just come off a win over the Washington Redskins, with QB Matthew Stafford throwing for 385 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception.
WR Nate Burleson and Chris Johnson shared the load in receiving yards and seemed to have a rhythm going. However, Burleson just broke his arm in a freak accident and the Lions are desperately trying to find a wide receiver to match Johnson’s caliber.
With that being said, let’s look at what the Bears need to do to beat the Lions and stay in first place in their division:
Protect QB Jay Cutler at all costs. The Lions have a reputation, encouraged by head coach Jim Schwartz, to ignore the rule book and hurt players. Their plan of attack will be to get to Cutler and hurt him so he can’t come back in the game. Watch for OG Kyle Long and Matt Slausen to keep DT Ndamukong Suh off of Cutler. Long is very protective of his captain and he will not hesitate to get in Suh’s face.
Stay with face paced, quick throws down the field. Since the Lions' defense will be after Cutler, he will need to move and release the ball quickly to his targets. He will also need to methodically move the ball down the field using up time.
Watch for WR Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery to get some long drives against the smaller Detroit cornerbacks. TE Martellus Bennett will be running shorter routes up the middle with at least a touchdown.
Running game is essential to eat up the clock. Running backs Matt Forte and Michael Bush will see a lot of playing time on the field. Watch for coach Marc Trestman to use Forte on quick slants and Bush for more of the deep run to penetrate a strong defense. The Bears will need to use Bush’s legs to push through players. Trestman will need to manage the clock well and hold back any chance of Stafford making a long pass to Johnson as a last ditch effort.
Defense will have to stop RB Reggie Bush and WR Calvin Johnson. With the loss of Burleson, the Lions will focus again on the run game. If Bush is cleared to play he will be attempt to be all over the field. But the Bears' defense was able to force a rare fumble from Minnesota's Adrian Peterson in Week 2 and can do the same with Reggie Bush. They will need to keep him at a minimum and not allow any yardage from him.
Cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings will need to be on their A-game against Johnson and be prepared to knock the ball out. It’s time for the Peanut Punch to surface again and show the Lions who belongs on the top of this division.
The jury is still out on when KR Devin Hester will explode on the field. Hester will need to just run like the wind in the most explosive way possible.
He can no longer hesitate and play cat and mouse against the Lions' special teams. It’s do or die time and Hester needs to make a statement now. He will answer with a 90-yard kickoff return and a Michael Bush touchdown.