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Lions vs Rams - Pregame Week-8

This coming weekend is easily the most important week of the Detroit Lions 2009 season. The 1-5 Lions are facing off against the 0-7 Rams. It is the only game this season in which the Lions are actually favored to win.

As bad as the Lions have played, the Rams have been worse. The game is a home game for the Lions. It looks very promising that Matthew Stafford will play this week. It is possible to see Calvin Johnson play again. If the Lions should find a way to lose this game, the fans will be near riotous rebellion. The "Sell the Lions" signs will come out. "Forget Millen, Fire Ford" T-shirts will fly off the shelf. (If I can come up with the money to have them made they will.) The Lions should win this week, but with their losing history and the fact the fans have stopped believing enough to sell out games, if the Lions lose it would be disastrous.

The Detroit Lions absolutely have to win this week against the Rams!

The Positives: ... The Rams have one aspect of their offense that is worth mentioning. Steve Jackson! The strong point of the Lions defense, if there is a strong point, is the run stopping. They are far from a great run defense. In fact, they really aren't even a good run defense. But stopping the run is at least something they can do sometimes when they put their minds to it. They have yet to show they can stop a pass from any quarterback. The Rams passing offense is actually nearly as bad as the Lions pass defense. So the one dimensional Rams offense will face the one dimensional Lions defense that is actually suited to stop them.

The Rams defense is actually the equal to the Lions defense. Horrible! The Lions offense, believe it or not, is much better than the Rams offense. If Calvin Johnson should play, the odds of the Lions winning will skyrocket.

The Negatives: .... I will be up front with you. I am not expecting Calvin Johnson to actually play. I think he is still another week away from being ready. Without him, Stafford will be forced to read the defense a lot more and that could hurt the Lions. Without Calvin Johnson, the Rams will not fear the pass nearly as much and be more liable to bring 8 men up in the box to stop Kevin Smith.

I question if the Lions defense can even stop the putrid passing game of the St.Louis Rams. If they cannot, it will be a long day for the Lions and the season will be heading for a major crash landing.

What I would Like to See: .... I would love to see constant blitzing against a bad Rams offense. I would absolutely love to see a few plays calling for Brandon Pettigrew to be hit on deeper routes. I would like to see Stafford make more use of the hard count to draw penalties. I would like to see a little more imagination in the play calling. (Lately it has been reminiscent of last season.) I would like to actually see the offensive line blow open a couple decent holes for Kevin Smith. I would really love to actually see the game!

Food for thought: .... Isn't it funny that the only win the Lions have had since 2007 was blacked out so the fans could not see it happen? Now they play the Rams and actually have a decent chance of winning... and it is blacked out again! How long will it be before the fans actually get to watch a win?


Future Goals for the Lions

Once the trade market opens up again, when free agency begins and in the next draft, the Lions need to have a plan. They need to pin point specific weaknesses and address them. The Detroit Lions have a lot of weaknesses to address, we all understand that. Someone just needs to tell them that and get them to actually address those issues.

#1 ... Offensive line. Specifically the left tackle where Jeff Backus continues to falter. So far, after 6 games into the 2009 season, here are some statistics according to CBS2Chicago. With three penalties, Backus has more than any other one offensive line-man on the Lions. He has two false starts and one holding penalty. Even though that is the worst on the Lions, that doesn't seem all so bad. Here is the telling stat however. In six games, Jeff Backus has allowed 5.5 sacks. The next worse is Gosder Cherilus with 2.75 sacks. Only half of what Backus has allowed. He is easily the worst lineman on the Lions offensive line and he is supposed to be protecting our quarterbacks blind side.

#2 ... Defensive Line. At times this season the defensive line has looked okay. Other times they couldn't put pressure on a Powder Puff quarterback. They absolutely need the big powerhouse who will reek havoc in the middle and a true speedster to close in on the opposing quarterbacks from the outside. You simply cannot win in the NFL if you do not pressure the opposing quarterback.

#3 ... Corner Back. It has been a very long time since the Lions had any resemblance of a true shut down corner. If in next years draft there is a true shut down corner back, the Lions need to take him. Even if it is their first round pick. If you can take an opponents best receiver out of the game, it makes the rest of the defense's job far easier.

#4 ... Running Back. Yes, Kevin Smith is a hard runner. Yes a lot of fans like him. Yes he ran for almost a 1000 yards as a rookie on a winless team. No he is not a star caliber running back to make opposing defenses fear him. Good offenses have running backs who can take one to the house if he gets in the open field. Kevin Smith is a running back who runs like a talented full back. If you want a power runner, you need a big bodied runner like Michael Turner or Brandon Jacobs. 211 lbs power running backs just do not put the fear of God into opposing defenses. This is the only high profile position I would understand the Lions using a first round draft pick on in April of 2010. If they can get a RB the likes of Tomlinson or Adrian Peterson, I think they should do it before even considering the other more important issues.

Whatever they do with the first round pick, the Lions cannot afford to let free-agency and the second round draft go by without addressing the Left Tackle position. Not if they want to keep Stafford alive.


Lions Lose to Packers in week-6

I would like to say I told you so. That the Lions couldn't stop the pass. That the Packers would beat up on Detroit. I would like to say I told you so, but I cannot. Even I had no inkling that it would be this bad.

The Lions did exactly one thing right on Sunday afternoon. They put pressure on Aaron Rodgers. It didn't matter. He completed 78.4% of his passes for 358 yards and 2 touchdowns. You know what though? That wasn't very far from what I was expecting. It wasn't how bad the defense played that upset me. It was the offense.

Culpepper could hardly complete a pass and left with an injury in the beginning of the second half. He only had 48 yards at that time. Stanton came in and played about the same level. There is no defending him this week. Daunte Culpepper was horrid. Yet I cannot place the blame squarely on his shoulders either. The receivers rarely got open, the running game was non-existent and the play calling.... oh let me tell you about the play calling.

The play calling had no imagination. The only play that showed any kind of imagination was a fake punt that looked like a little league coach designed it. It was so bad that they actually showed the Packers it was a fake punt before they snapped the ball. Worse! They waited until Green Bay adjusted their defense before they snapped the ball! The play calling had not even an ounce of aggressiveness. Culpepper never took a shot down field. There were no reverses. There were not even any quick slants called! I actually had flash backs to Marinelli and Marriucci calling the plays.

In the end, the Lions lost to the Packers 26 to 0. The Lions were shut out for the first time since 2001. Think about what that means. The Lions just accomplished a feat of futility that even the 2008 0-16 Lions did not. They were shut out!

I still believe this team is much improved over last years team. However, right now, I seriously would have no evidence to back that statement up in a debate. The team we saw play today was no better than last years team.

The Lions only have two things to be glad for right now. One is that they cannot possibly lose next week since they are on a bye-week. Second is that the following week they play the lowly Rams. But until they beat the Rams (if they beat the Rams) the Lions have nothing to be proud of.


Lions vs Packers - Pregame Week-6

Once again Jim Schwartz is hiding the answer to which quarterback will play come game time. Even though Matthew Stafford did not practice Friday and missed 4 of the 5 practices this week, Schwartz recently moved him up to probable and said he will be a game time decision.

In my personal opinion, this is nothing more than an amateurish move by Schwartz. If he starts Stafford when he has only practiced once this week, it would be a completely idiotic move. A good coach would have a hard time starting a veteran quarterback if he hasn't practiced. To start a rookie with no practice? Idiotic! So I don't believe for a moment that Stafford will start. In this case, for Schwartz to try to make it look like he might play Stafford is amateurish. If I am not about to fall for that, I really doubt the Green Bay Packers brass is going to.

One more week it looks like Culpepper will start for the Lions and once again it looks like he might be without his top receiver Calvin Johnson. I don't know about you, but I doubt there is a player in the locker room whom Culpepper wouldn't trade to get Calvin Johnson back. Once again, Daunte will need to count on Dennis Northcutt and Bryant Johnson to pick up the slack.

The Lions almost beat the Steelers last week, so they should have a chance to beat the Packers right? Here are the facts people. The Lions defense is allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete an astounding 73% of their passes. They have given up an average of 3 passing touchdowns per game and have less than one interception per game. Though the defense has given up some big gains to running backs, they have also shown signs of stopping the run at times. They have not come close to even slowing down the passing game. Green Bay relies on the pass far more than the run.

Once again, I will say it. The Lions best hopes of stopping the Packers is to blitz Aaron Rodgers. If they do not, Rodgers will tear the Lions defense up. The Packers offensive line has major problems right now as they allowed 8 sacks in their last game. The Packers are excellent at getting rid of the ball quickly to defeat the blitz, but the Lions would be better off giving up a lot of five yard passes and hitting their quarterback than to be giving up a lot of 15 yard passes because we give him all day. The Detroit defense will just have to count on the fact that it is unlikely the refs could make a bad call on hitting the QB in the legs two weeks in a row.

All in all however, the Lions chances of winning this one are slim. No, I mean slimmer than most weeks.

Packers - 41
Lions --- 20


Lions Fans Often See what They Want to See

Human nature. It is human nature to survive. It is human nature to learn. It is the nature of learning that curses the fans of the Detroit Lions.

If a child touches matches and you ignore it, he will sooner or later burn himself. If you slap his hand when he touches them, once, twice or a dozen times (depending on how intelligent the kid is), he will learn not to touch those matches. When the Lions lose as often as the Lions have, the fans learn to expect it. When the Lions play bad football for as long as they have, the fans learn to focus on the bad football. I saw evidence of this since last Sunday's game against Pittsburgh.

Culpepper has not started a single regular season game this year. He comes in against the defending Superbowl Champs. Almost immediately in the game, he loses his star receiver Calvin Johnson to an injury. Let's face it, the guy was up against some pretty harsh circumstances for his first game since the preseason. Yet Culpepper threw for almost 300 yards, 62% completion, a TD and scrambled for two big first downs to keep drives going.

Daunte Culpepper did an admiral job under those circumstances and yet, throughout the week I have heard far more complaining than I have heard praises for the veteran quarterback. People want to point out his mistakes. That he had an interception and an intentional grounding called on him. It doesn't matter that the intentional grounding was nothing more than him trying to throw it away and would have been legal if he would have gotten the ball three more yards down field. The fans still say it was a stupid play. It doesn't matter that his interception came while he was scrambling for his life and he overthrew a wide open receiver. The fans want to say it was a stupid play on his part. Not a bad throw, but a stupid play. If he would have thrown the one another three plays, the fans would have said he did what he should have done. If he would have hit that receiver, the fans would have said it was a great play then forgot about it. We don't remember the good but we look for the bad.

The Lions got called for a personal foul for hitting the QB low. Replay showed it was an awful call by the refs. Rather than the Lions having the ball after an interception, the Steelers got it back plus a first down, plus an additional 15 yards. They scored a TD they should never have had. Take that away and the defending champions only scored 21 points against the Lions defense. Yet I have not heard anyone saying how well they played. I hear how the Lions could not tackle again.

Every team except for Jacksonville scored last weekend. How could that be? If other teams always played perfect, they would shut their opponents out. So how come even all of the great teams of the NFL were scored upon? How did Philadelphia give up 14 points to Tampa bay? How did Minnesota allow the lowly Rams to score 10 points? How is it the great New York Jets defense gave up 31 points? Could it be that maybe they don't play perfect every play? Could it be that they miss tackles sometimes and miss coverage sometimes?

The fact is, every defense, even the great ones will mess up sometimes. They all let teams score on them. The Steelers offense is no push over. They can run and they can pass. The Steelers are a very good team in the NFL and look how much they crushed the Lions by. Eight points! And seven of those came from a lousy call by the refs.

The Lions played a pretty good game Sunday against the defending Superbowl Champions. They played pretty darn good on offense and defense. Under the circumstances, Culpepper played very good. Far better I think than most of us thought he would in that situation.

Lions fans need to shed the losing mentality just as much as the team does. If they play really bad, the fans need to let them know it by screaming out about it. But when the Lions play a decent game, win or lose, the fans should acknowledge that as well. Last weeks loss aside, I saw a much improved Lions team on the field from what I saw last year. If they continue to improve, the fans will have a much brighter future ahead of them.


Lions Lose to Steelers in week-5

With less than three minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the Lions had the ball and were 8 points down. They were well within field goal range but it was not an option. They needed the touchdown and a two point conversion to tie it. At the Steelers 21 yard line Culpepper took the snap and all hell broke loose.

The Steelers sent a full compliment of blitzers from Culpeppers right side and the defensive back came through untouched. Culpepper was dropped for a six yard loss.

2nd and 16 at the Steelers 27 yard line Culpepper took a snap in the no-huddle offense. Pittsburgh sent the same blitz and the Lions reacted the same way. A sack for a five yard loss.

3rd down and 21 yards to go from the Steelers 32 yard line. What do the Steelers do? Send another full blitz. For the third straight play the Lions could not even begin to slow down the blitz and Culpepper was dropped for a loss of 13 yards.

So now it is 4th down and 34 yards to go at the Steelers 45 yard line. The Lions only hope was to throw a Hail Mary. Culpepper took the snap, dropped back and actually got the pass off. The pass came down at the goal line where a group of Steelers defensemen were waiting. The Lions receivers were all waiting outside hoping for a tip. The tip came and the ball landed where no receivers stood. Game over. The Lions lost to the defending Superbowl Champions 28-20.

Listening to the radio after the game, I heard a lot of things from callers. They complained about the stands being 80% Steelers fans. They complained that Culpepper did not look like an NFL Starting QB. They complained that the Lions choked when the game was on the line. I learned something today. Most fans do not know what they are talking about.

Daunte Culpepper was 23 of 37 for 282 yards. He had one touchdown and one interception. Those are decent numbers. Considering he did this while being sacked seven times because the offensive line rarely gave him time to throw says he played very well. The fact that Culpepper rushed 3 times for 44 yards, two of them coming when he avoided a heavy rush and ran for first downs to keep drives going. Considering Culpepper did this against a very good team with no rushing game to take some of the pressure of of him and in his first and only start of the season? I give the veteran quarterback a solid "A" for his performance. Oh, did I mention that he put up those numbers with Calvin Johnson on the sideline all game with an injury?

The only real knock on Culpepper in today's loss was his interception, which is the reason so many were upset with him. The ball came out of his hands after the snap and he had to scramble to pick it up. When he finally got a hold of the ball, he had two Steelers coming hard at him and he turned and threw the ball across the field. The ball fluttered into the stomach of another Steeler. Announcers said it was a horrible decision. Fans said it was a stupid pass. I disagree.

If you can see a replay of the pass, you will notice the ball sailed over the head of a Lion. If the pass would have been lower, it would have ended in a first down and Culpepper would have been heralded for such a great job. Under the extreme pressure, his only real stupid mistake came from throwing the ball without setting his feet which is the reason it was thrown off target and too high. Culpepper did not throw a blind pass and he did not throw a pass at a covered player. He saw the open receiver and it was a smart pass to throw. He simply threw it to high.

The Lions didn't choke with the game on the line. When the game was on the line, the defending Champs exploited the Lions offense greatest weakness. The offensive line! The Steeler blitzed hard with five to six players because they know the Lions line cannot handle that. They knew the Lions needed a longer play and a deep pass would need time to develop. They didn't give it time. Yet, in my opinion the Lions should not have been in that position to begin with. The refs put them there.

Earlier in the game, the Lions blitzed Roethlisburger, forcing him to throw early. The pass resulted in an interception and should have been the Lions ball... if not for yet another bad call against the Lions this year. The flag? Going for the quarterbacks knees.

Replay showed that the Lions did not go for Ben's legs. One player hit him high on the shoulder. Another player was blocked into the ground. That player, already on the ground turned and grabbed Roethlisburger around the legs and pulled him down as he loosed the ball. It was a clean and a very legal play. It should have been the Lions ball. Instead, it was a fifteen yard penalty, first down for Pittsburgh. The Steelers scored a touchdown on the drive.

If that horrid call would not have been made, the Steelers would have had only a one point lead at the end. The Lions would have been running Smith rather than passing and so they would have been able to kick a field goal for the win.

The Lions are still not a very good team, but today they played a pretty good game. Good enough in fact that they should have beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. A feat nobody believed would happen. A feat the refs made sure would not happen.


Lions vs Steelers - Pregame Week-5

Though no word is out whether Detroit Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford is playing or not, I do not expect him to be ready. So Daunte Culpepper with only a week of first team snaps will have to face the toughest defense the Lions have yet to face.

When the Lions have the ball...
With Culpepper not having much regular season action, we can expect the already aggressive Steelers defense to step it up a notch. They will show us why the better defenses like to blitz. The Lions will need to counter this by using a lot of quick dumps to Kevin Smith and Brandon Pettigrew. This will not be enough. They will need to use a lot of quick slants as well, but that is something the Lions have a history of staying away from. If they use the quick slant more than two times I will be shocked. Until they force the Steelers defense to back off a little, there will not be enough time for plays to develop and that will keep Calvin Johnson from playing a big part.

When Steelers have the ball....
Mendenhall showed last week why they drafted him and the world expects him to light up the Lions defense. He will likely break away for one long one, but other than that, the Lions will hold him down for the most part. The Lions have shown they can stop the run this year. It is the pass that still seems to be beyond the Detroit defense's comprehension. Roethlisburger is one of the best at avoiding pressure and the only way the Lions will get to him is to blitz. Last week the Lions blitzed around eight times in the first half and not one of the longer gains came from being burnt on the blitz. The Lions have shown this year that they will be burnt far more often while NOT blitzing than when they are blitzing. Somehow I doubt they have learned that lesson yet though.

Things to watch....

Pay attention to the Lions special teams this week. They signed the hard hitting rookie Zach Follett from the practice squad in hopes of injecting some life into the special teams. This guy can light someone up. If he gets a hard hit on the returner early, it could add life to some of the other players as well.

It will be interesting to see if Culpepper will take some chances down field if he gets the time to throw. In the preseason he gained the reputation for not taking chances down field. I think he was a victim of play calling and if given the chance he will want to prove his worth.

If the Steelers do blitz a lot, it would not surprise me to see the Lions use Aaron Brown more to counter the pressure. His speed on the draw plays and screens could force the Steelers defense to back off quicker than Kevin Smiths hard running style would.

Look at the stands. Many expect the stadium to be nearly 40% Steelers fans. I would expect more in the lines of 30% but it will be enough to see virtual seas of black and yellow.

The Lions are looking improved over last season. There are vast improvements in run defense and offensive rushing. They are in no way ready to beat a Pittsburgh Steelers team.

Steelers - 30
Lions ---- 20


A Joke for Detroit No1

No... Seriously, this is a joke. That wasn't a sarcastic title.....

A man is walking through down town Detroit when he is mugged and killed. Not having led a very good life, he finds himself standing in a cavern of flames and realizes he had gone to hell. Suddenly Satan appears before him.

"Pretty hot here huh?" Satan asks with an evil grin.

The Detroit man shrugs his shoulders a bit. "I'm from Detroit. Our summers get pretty hot sometimes."

Satan disappears then and goes and turns up the heat. He re-appears before the man. "How's that? Pretty hot now huh?"

Again, the man shrugs his shoulders. "As I said, I am from Detroit. Gets pretty hot in Detroit."

Satan gets a little frustrated and in a blink he is gone and this time he cranks the heat up as hot as it will go, then he goes back to the man.

"Now it's hot huh?" Satan asks the man.

The fellow stands there sweating, but to Satan's surprise he once again shrugs his shoulders. "This is pretty hot, but like I said, it gets hot in Detroit in mid summer. I can handle it."

Satan disappears again and this time he is furious. "So he can handle the heat can he? Let's see how he handles the cold." And he cranks the temperature all the way down.

When Satan gets back to the Detroiter, there is ice and snow piling up around the fellow, but to Satan's surprise, the man is ecstatic. He is jumping around laughing and shouting for joy.

"What the hell is this?" Satan asks. "How can you be so happy about how cold this is?"

The man is just going nuts and he grabs Satan by the shoulders and yells at him. "Look around you man! The Lions won the Superbowl! The Lions won the Superbowl!"

Should Stafford Play with Injured Knee?

Jim Schwartz will only say that his rookie quarterback, Matthew Stafford is day to day. Stafford will not discuss any details on the injury other than that it is not the same injury he suffered in high school. Nobody is talking and the Lions fans are left to make assumptions. So here is mine....

It does not matter! It is that simple. It simply doesn't matter if his knee is days away or weeks away from being ready to play. It doesn't matter if it is the same injury from high school or not. It does not matter, because Stafford has not practiced and therefore should not play this week.

This has nothing to do with the fact I don't think he should have been starting from week-1. This has everything to do with common sense. He is a rookie and the future of the Detroit Lions. He needs repetitions. If a veteran quarterback misses a week of practice, it is still no easy thing to enter a game and look crisp. For a rookie, who is still learning the scheme and how to read defenses, it is far more difficult. If a rookie quarterback misses a week of practice, you just should not throw him back into the wolves. Especially when the wolves are the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Lions should play Daunte Culpepper this week and I cannot believe I am saying this but if Stafford practices next week, then you put him back in. The last thing the Lions need is a quarterback controversy. Schwartz should come out and say that Culpepper will start, but it is only for the short term and when Stafford is ready he will resume the role as the Lions starting quarterback. The only possible way this should lead to a controversy is if Stafford misses more than two weeks and Culpepper wins both games against the Steelers and after the bye week against the Rams. In that case you have to question whether to bench a quarterback who is winning. Other than that very slim chance, the Lions quarterback is Stafford and everyone knows he will take the reins again when he is healthy.

The first two weeks of the season, Stafford was far from ready to be playing. In fact, I do believe that if Culpepper had been playing, the Lions would have won the game against Minnesota. I felt the Lions should have sat Stafford for the first season and if not the whole season, until at least after the bye-week. They started him right away and took an extra loss because of that decision. Now however, Stafford has had the extra repetitions and is starting to come along. The injury might set him back a little and now after the bye-week he will be right back to where he would have been if he waited in the first place. Maybe slightly ahead of schedule but that little difference was not worth taking the extra loss.

Extra loss or not though, the job should be Stafford's now so long as he is healthy. But only if he is healthy. If he misses a week of practice, he should not play. Once he is back in practices, then he is put back in. No controversy, just simple common sense.


Lions Lose to Bears in Week-4

In the last three games, there is a glaring problem with the Detroit Lions. The second half!

Since scoring 17 points in the third quarter of the first game in New Orleans, the Lions have yet to score another point in that quarter. In the mean time their opponents have scored a combined 30 points in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter is nearly as bad as the Lions have only scored 10 points in the fourth of their last three games. All field goals!

The Lions have not scored a touchdown in the second half since their first game of the season. They have given up seven.

The Lions went into the half time break with a 21 to 21 tie against the Bears in Chicago. That alone should have had them coming out with the momentum. They gave that momentum away on the first play of the second half as Johnny Knox of the Bears ran the kick-off back 102 yards for a touchdown.

The Lions answered the TD with a three and out and then allowed the Bears a field goal. The Lions only score in the second half was a single field goal while giving up 27 points. After entering the second half with a 21 to 21 tie, the Lions ended up being blown out 48 - 24.

For the most part, Matthew StafFORD looked pretty good as he completed 24 of 36 passes for 296 yards and a TD. Yet again however, StafFORD looked like the rookie he was as he threw a terrible interception and fumbled the ball away once. The interception came when he was being dragged down and rather than take the sack, he threw the ball as he was falling backwards and right into the brisket of Chicago's Defensive Tackle, Tommie Harris.

In the fourth quarter StafFORD left the game with a leg injury but there was really no hope of Daunte Culpepper doing much at that point. To expect Culpepper to come into the defensive pressure Chicago came with when the Lions were so far down and him not having his timing with the receivers anymore? There just was no hope.

In the first half I paid close attention to the Blitz package the Lions came with. I counted 8 blitzes in the first half. Only twice did they give up positive yardage during a blitz and neither were more than five yards. Two of the blitzes resulted in sacks.

While not blitzing in the first half, the Bears had several long gains from both run plays and passing plays and the Lions never recorded a sack.

The Lions are now 1-3 and face the Steelers at home next week, followed by the Packers in Green Bay. In all probability they will enter their bye-week with a 1-5 record. I don't expect them to win either of those games but I do hope they can show some improvement in their second half play.


Lions vs Bears - Pregame Week-4

After a win against the Washington Redskins, our beloved Detroit Lions travel to Chicago to face the Bears on hostile territory.

In the early going, Detroit's running game has actually been better than the Bears has. Forte, one of last years top rushers, as well as being one of the top receiving backs in the NFL, has had a very slow start. With four less carries, than Forte, Kevin Smith has 54 more yards. Unfortunately for the Lions Kevin Smith is not healthy this week.

Kevin Smith did take part in practice but Schwartz has said he will be a game time decision. If Smith cannot handle the load on his shoulder, we can expect to see more of Maurice Morris again this week. Personally I believe that there would be a higher upside to playing Aaron Brown with his better top end speed, but I would not expect to see a lot of him either way.

However much any fan may like or dislike Matthew StafFORD, any intelligent human being would have to admit that at this point of their careers, Cutler is leaps and bounds better. It will take one of StafFORD's better weeks to beat the Bears Sunday. He started right last Sunday when he hit Bryant Johnson early and often. He will need to do the same again to force the defense to leave Calvin Johnson a little more open. Any time Johnson is one on one with any defender though, StafFORD needs to go his way.

The Lions defense will be hard pressed to stop the Bears. As good as the Lions have looked in stopping the run at times, they have not done so well against the pass. Even though Forte has had a slow start, they will have to keep a close eye on him. The Lions defense will have to worry about keeping Forte reigned in while trying to stop the speedy receivers whom Cutler will be throwing to.

With Forte starting off slow this year, the Lions will have to take advantage of that. They will have to make sure they disrupt the passing game to keep Cutler from hitting Hester deep too often. It is in my humble opinion that this would be the optimal week for the Lions defense to come hard with the blitz. Until Forte shows he can make us pay for blitzing, the Lions have to get to Cutler quickly and they need to get to him early. They cannot afford to allow Cutler to get into any kind of groove.

I didn't believe the Lions would beat Washington last week, but in all due respect, the Redskins have not looked good this season. The Bears will not play as sloppy and I do not think the Lions will play as well against them. Until I actually see the aggressive side of Cunningham for myself, I will not believe he will come with a lot of blitzing. Higher confidence or not, the Lions don't really match-up to the Bears.

Chicago Bears 24
Detroit Lions 16