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Previewing the Bears vs Lions NFC North Showdown

Rudi Johnson vs the Niners
The Matt Millen era in Detroit is over, and with it the Lions are hoping that a change in fortune is headed for the 0-3 club this week that takes on the Chicago Bears in the Motor City. The NFC North battle will go down at 1pm on Sunday, and while the Bears come in off a big win on the field over the Eagles, the Lions probably are feeling like they had a victory off the field when the teams owner finally fired Millen during their recent bye week.

Things have been bad already this year for the Lions, who have lost to the Falcons, Packers and 49’ers. Their defense has allowed a whopping 113 points in those three losses, and against the 49’ers were stomped 31-13. They need to get things turned around on both sides of the ball, and that will not be easy against a Bears team that just topped the Eagles on Sunday night in Chicago.

The numbers are staggering for the Lions – 289 yards per game on offense, allowing 430 yards per game. Allowing 207 yards per game rushing, putting up just 78 yards per game. They will try to get a better ground game this week, as they will start former Bengal Rudi Johnson, sitting rookie Kevin Smith, who simply has not been able to get any sort of ground game going. Look for QB Jon Kitna to attack the Bears secondary, don’t forget that Detroit did beat Chicago twice in 2007, both times with Kitna and the offense able to throw the ball.

For the Bears, they needed to top the Eagles to get some confidence back, and they did just that, winning 24-20. Kyle Orton threw three TD’s, and they are putting up 133.5 yards per game on the ground with rookie Matt Forte leading the way. Their defense put a lot of pressure on Donovan McNabb Sunday night, and they will use their very solid core of linebackers to try and do that same to Kitna.

The Lions realize that running the ball won’t be easy, so they will try to use their solid wide out core to stretch the Bears D, as they have allowed 246.5 per game in the air, and just 79.3 on the ground. Throwing the ball is probably the only way that Detroit is going to keep this close.

It’s going to be an interesting game. Just how much of a lift can the Lions get after the bye – if any? They realize that they are better than their 0-3 start, but it’s really going to come down to the defense making plays and trying to hold the Bears in check. Chicago can run and throw, and their defense is good enough to win on the road in what should be a tough, and much closer game than what the Lions have played in so far in 08.

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