Warren Wimmer/Icon SMI - Forget Forte, Peppers is the one the Lions have to worry about.
It has been years since the Detroit Lions were featured on a Monday night game...the last time it was against the St. Louis Rams...and they lost by something on the order of 950-3...I can't remember the exact score, I just remember that it was incredibly embarrassing and the Rams only stopped scoring because they felt sorry for the worn out score keeper.
The time before that the Lions faced off against the 49'ers in a game that was pretty much the same...
Now, this year, it's supposed to be different. It should be different. Those teams were put together by Matt Millen and he proved himself to be the worst general manager in the history of professional sports. He was a complete and utter moron--which is why the NFL Network hired him to do shows for them...he's funny, but stupid...and that's entertaining.
But back to the game...
The Lions will be hosting the long time rival Chicago Bears. This is a team that's offense is run by Mike Martz and it's defense is run by Rod Marinelli...the coaches that engineered 0-16. The only stooge they're missing is Moe. How they managed to make the NFC Championship last year is a complete mystery to me.
On Monday night Ford Field will be vibrating. It will be the biggest, rowdiest Lions game since 1991. Detroit is a football town and it's fan base has been starved for good Lions football for so long that there may be a fan drooling problem after the first whistle blows.
Chicago Offense vs Detroit Defense
This is not the most important issue that will effect the outcome on Monday night. The Lions do have a clear advantage because the Bears (ie Martz) does not like to run the ball, even though they have no receivers and their offensive line is...a work in progress...
If the Bears concentrate on getting the ball to Matt Forte and are successful in keeping Cutler alive...it might be a competitive game...if they don't....it will not even be competitive.
It is up to the Kong and KVB and the linebackers to properly fill their gaps to stop Forte on rushes and screens. If he's stopped, Chicago will go no where.
Chicago Defense vs Detroit Offense
This is the big deal. This is where the money will be made. This is what it's all about. Can the Lions take advantage of the Bears 29th ranked defense against the pass...and can they stop Julius Peppers from picking his teeth with the remains of Matthew Stafford...again.
This game is all about "Can Jeff Backus stop Julius Peppers?" I don't care if the Lions quadruple team the guy...he has to be stopped. If they can keep him contained and Stafford healthy the whole game...I don't see this as much of a competition.
In a way, this might count as a revenge game for Stafford...
Stafford + Johnson vs 29th ranked pass defense...I think my choice is pretty clear.
It's hard for me to keep consistently picking the Lions to win. It's against my nature. It's against everything I've learned in my lifetime. It is a recipe for disaster and complete let down...but if I look at all the facts....once again, the Lions should be victorious...and not just victorious but BIG WINNERS.
Hey NFL...the Lions will be 5-0 for the first time since 1956....Everybody likes to taut the percentage of 3-0 teams that make the playoffs...could somebody please post the numbers for 5-0?