There is a buzz in Motown that hasn’t been experienced since the Pistons and Red Wings ruled the roost years past. The Detroit Lions not only get to play on Monday night, but they also get to take on the Monsters of the Midway-their rivals in the NFC North.
There are some obvious points of contention that will decide the game with the Chicago Bears tonight. The Lions are about a touchdown favorite at the betting windows, but they have been very fortunate with some of the outcomes in their previous contests.
Lions defensive line vs. the Bears offensive line: Michael Vick has insinuated that the officials haven’t protected him the season. Jay Cutler has taken some brutal hits as well. The no name cast of characters will be asked to face the strength of the Lions and the elite of the division. Sometimes ordinary men are asked to do extraordinary things, but the odds are certainly against Chicago in this scenario.
Detroit will undoubtedly bring the pressure. Roy Williams, Johnny Knox, and Dane Sanzenbacher will not likely have big games. Matt Forte has been a man on a mission for more dollars all season. He would certainly prove his worth with a big game noticed by Ron Jaworski and Mike Tirico.
Special teams: Devin Hester is the most acclaimed returner of the millennium. The league has attempted to neutralize him through the kickoff rule change. They are actually trying to minimize injuries on the most violent play in the game, but he is certainly the victim when there are more touchbacks. Chicago also wins the placekicker battle with Robbie Gould. The Penn State product has incredible accuracy that will only be amplified in the confines of Ford Field. Chicago will need to have big plays in this department to compete with Detroit.
Matthew Stafford vs. Jay Cutler: The former has the much better start to the season because his team his unbeaten. His quarterback rating is in the triple digits while the latter is lagging with one around seventy eight. Cutler has repeatedly been compared with Brett Favre because he has a high risk and high reward component to his game. This is evidenced by the fact that he has five touchdowns and four interceptions so far this season. In fairness to him, Stafford does have Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew, and Nate Burleson at his disposal. Cutler doesn’t have comparable perimeter weapons.
Coaching: Lovie Smith has never received much acclaim in the windy city. He has had to endure the continuous frugal nature of the organization with his contracts and nationally he takes a back seat to more boisterous characters like Rex Ryan and Jim Harbaugh. Jim Schwartz was an unknown commodity until the team’s success this season. He brings a passion that is contagious with his team and he has changed an entire culture in a second rate organization. The edge obviously goes to Schwartz.
Matt Forte vs. Jahvid Best: Best’s numbers should be better with all of the attention given to the Lions receiving corps. He is a viable threat to catch balls out of the backfield, but Forte is the superior traditional ball carrier. He will need to be to eat up clock and for the team to matriculate down the field.Follow paulmbanks