Chicago Sun-Times

Where things stand in the NFC North

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For a while last night, it looked like the Atlanta Falcons were going to do the Bears a huge favor.

The Bears beat the Falcons in the season opener, and the Falcons jumped out to a 14-0 lead against the Green Bay Packers.

But the Packers scored the next 25 points to rally for a victory and move to 5-0.

The win, though, was a costly one for the Packers. They lost offensive tackle Chad Clifton to a ghastly looking right hamstring injury.

Simply put, the Bears can't afford to lose tonight at Ford Field. With a win, the Lions would move to 5-0, and the Bears would fall three games behind two teams in the division. That would also put them in dismal shape in the wildcard race.

Yes, it's very early. But the Bears need to start playing better on defense and especially offense as they enter a crucial stretch. After the Lions, the Bears host the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field.

The Vikings snapped a four-game losing streak with a 34-10 beating of the Arizona Cardinals at the Metrodome.

Beyond wins and losses, these next two games for the Bears are both in primetime: tonight on ESPN's Monday Night Football and then NBC's Sunday Night Football.

If the Bears can win, then they would also be right back in the Wildcard mix. Based on current records -- if they can get to 3-2 -- they'd be tied with the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the final Wildcard spot.

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Lion - 37
Bears - 13

It will be worse than the Saints game, Cutler will be lucky if he survives without getting concussed again.

Hard to consistently win with half your roster filled with less than NFL caliber players....thanks Angelo........

Yes, a loss tonight and the season could very well be shot. Especially the pace the Packers are on right now, the loss of tackle Chad Clifton will hurt Green Bay although, and if Detroit wins tonight, they'll also be on a heck of a pace. With the back to back losses to New Orleans and Green Bay, its been all gloom and doom here in Bear country, but, not all hope is lost, not quite. Chicago can win this game.

On offense, the Lions have Calvin Johnson and his 8 touchdown catches, the thing is, other than Johnson, no other receiver has scored for them through 4 games. Matt Stafford has 11 touchdown passes, 8 to Johnson, 2 to tight end/fullback Tony Scheffler and 1 to running back Jahvid Best. Starting tight end Brandon Pettigrew and starting receiver Nate Burleson have yet to score. What does this tell us, they're limited, take out Johnson with safety help and force Detroit to run, they're ranked 31st in rushing offense, and this offense can be slowed down. Basically blanket Johnson and force another skilled player to make some plays, which to date, they haven't been able to do other than Johnson.

As far as Chicago's offense, run the ball. The Lions are ranked 16th vs the run. The key to Chicago's run game will start up front. Chicago needs to go with Lance Louis at right guard. As good as Chris Spencer has been, you don't put a guard with a broken anything up against Ndamukong Suh. I think Louis can get the job done, he's been playing some good footbal when healthy, last week Louis had 10 knockdowns in 41 plays. As far as the passing game, Cutler needs to be safe with the ball. The Lions defense has 7 picks so far this season, this is a major reason their defense has held up despite giving up some big plays. Lions cornerback Chris Houston seems to have the hot hand right now with his 3 picks. If Chicago can get Matt Forte going early, this will go a long ways in keeping Calvin Johnson off the field and slowing Detroits pass rush. And Cutler simply needs to step up in prime time for once, running will be the key, but Cutler is still gonna have to make some plays via the passing attack. Should be interesting, I say Bears 24 Lions 17 GO BEARS!!

3-4 years ago the Clifton loss would have been big, but he has been one of the worst Tackles in the nfl the last couple of years. The interior of the Packers O-Line is the best in football so far, Bucs game will be huge.

Clifton does not kill the Packers because Rodgers gets rid of the ball to quickly and the Packers use that high tempo offense, play action, and Rodgers is great at avoiding pressure. He does not take all the deep drops that rely on the tackles to block for extended periods. When they do, they will do the same thing they did with Clifton, they will chip the end. The excellent interior forces most ends to stay outside on their rushes. Bulaga was a big loss that kid was playing great, but once again with both tackles down with injuries the Packers show off their depth.

My biggest problem with this game, is it is at Ford Field and it is on monday night. Loud domes are problem for this line and monday night has been a problem for Cutler.

As for the rest of the north aka the Vikings, their front 7 looks pretty good and they can run. Not sure I am a fan of the Bears playing in Min.

What I would like to see tonight.

I would like to see Cutler use his feet and I would like to see Martz use Cutlers feet, game plan something for his mobility.

I would like to see the drops mixed up more, better play calling with a nice mix of short, medium, and long passes.

I would like to see the Bears run at the Lions, and use a balanced attack to keep their defense off balance.

On defense I want to see them Blitz more, and I would like to see more stunts.

I don't want to see Jennings on Johnson, ever.

The Lions are flawed, and I bet they have a stupid punter. Basically if the Lions play like they have so far, and the Bears play smart football and exploit the Lions flaws they should win.

But I can't trust Martz to do that yet, and I can't trust the O-Line in a dome on monday night. For that matter I can't trust Cutler on monday night until he proves otherwise, actually I can't trust him until he stops seeing shadows. Forte, Special teams and takeaways need to win this game.

All in all I think the Lions are really pumped for this game and at home, I would like to give the Bears the win, but I think Lions pull this one out, be cool if they chocked on the big stage though. Bears will probably split with the Lions this year. So I will give the Lions their win at home. I get the feeling the Bears Safeties will be cheating because of Johnson and Pettigrew or whoever is in the slot will end up hurting the Bears.

Sorry Creighton, I couldn't pass this up. Here is what WILL happen tonight:

I would like to see Cutler use his feet and I would like to see Martz use Cutlers feet, game plan something for his mobility.

Hasn't happened since the Cutler/Martz experiment began....not gonna happen tonight, our tackles aren't athletic enough to block someone in space - which you need with the rollout

I would like to see the drops mixed up more, better play calling with a nice mix of short, medium, and long passes.

Cutler isn't going to have enough time to throw short, medium, and certainly not long

I would like to see the Bears run at the Lions, and use a balanced attack to keep their defense off balance.

They will try for one quarter, get stuffed repeatedly, and go to the pass for the rest of the game, with Cutler running for his life

On defense I want to see them Blitz more, and I would like to see more stunts.

If they do they will get burned by Stafford and go back into their Cover 2 shell

I don't want to see Jennings on Johnson, ever.

It won't matter, the safeties are the problem - have been since Mike Brown left.....

So I was wrong about Martz using Cutlers feet, I didn't think it would happen, that was more of a wish list.

However you can goahead and tell me I was right about everything else. Forte ran on them, Jay used his feet, they didn't blitz much or stunt. Might have helped couldn't have hurt.

I was wrong about the Punter, actually punters are stupid by nature, Jim Schwartz would have killed him if he punted at Hester. Apperantly their Schwartz is bigger than the Bears Schwartz

Oh and I did mention the Safeties, I said they would be cheating, and they were. So I did pretty good. Should have known Ray Charles would throw another challenge flag and go for another stupid 4th down attempt and take points off the board.

Jay got me back though I was worried about the guy coming into this game, but Cutler went all backyard football and dumped the Martz approach.

All in all I was pretty accurate, could have been closer if the tard would stop taking points off the board.

Boy, what an embarrassment! Cutler running for his life the entire game, Omiyale so bad that he had to be benched AGAIN, with Webb not far behind, and a defense that couldn't stop my long dead grandmothers. This team will be lucky to win another game; thanks McCheapskys.

You people in Chicago had better stop going to games or we'll have garbage like this to look forward to the rest of our lives. The owners of this team are NOT football people and care far more about making money than winning. Until they start losing revenue by failing to sell out, they'll just continue to use a bean counter instead of a football guy for team president and to spend as much under the salary cap as possible. We forced George Halas to fix the Bears when we stopped going to games in the '70s, you can do it now.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on October 10, 2011 8:35 AM.

Defense determined to make marked improvements was the previous entry in this blog.

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