LIONS INSIDER

GAME PREVIEW: Lions look to sweep the season series

Posted Nov 10, 2013

Detroit and Chicago match up in a huge divisional game at Soldier Field

HISTORY

The Lions and Bears meet today for the 168th time in the history of this Midwest rivalry that dates back to 1930.

The Lions won the first meeting, 40-32, earlier this year at Ford Field. Lions running back Reggie Bush combined for 173 total yards in the win.

A LOOK AT THE STATS

 LionsBears
Record 5-3 5-3
Points per game 27.1 (6) 30.0 (2)
Total yards per game 416.0 (3) 377.0 (10)
Rushing yards 98.1 (21) 120.1 (13)
Passing yards 317.9 (2) 256.9 (14)
Points allowed 24.6 (18) 28.3 (29)
Total yards allowed 381.0 (25) 381.1 (26)
Rushing yards allowed 108.5 (13) 127.5 (28)
Passing yards allowed 272.5 (25) 253.6 (22)
Turnover ratio 1 (12t) 9 (3t)

BY THE NUMBERS

1,200: Bears receivers Brandon Marshall (647) and Alshon Jeffery (621) are on pace to become the first set of teammates in franchise history to each record 1,200-plus receiving yards in the same season.

87.5: Percent of the time the Lions have scored a touchdown when they’ve been in goal-to-go situations this year. That’s the second best in the NFL.

25: Rushing touchdowns recorded by the Lions since the start of the 2012 season, which ranks sixth in the NFL during that span.

4: Times this year Reggie Bush has totaled 120 scrimmage yards in a game.

KEY MATCHUPS

DT Ndamukong Suh vs. G Kyle Long

There was quite the build-up to this matchup before the first game in September, but it didn’t really live up to the hype. Suh dominated the game with two sacks, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble.

No doubt Long studied that game film long and hard this week and will poised for a better showing this time around.

Expect the Lions to move Suh around. He’ll rush from the edge and also stand up at times and come from a lot of different angles.

WR Calvin Johnson vs. CB Charles Tillman

Give Tillman and the Bears a lot of credit for the way they’ve been able to handle one of the most dangerous weapons in the NFL in Johnson throughout his career.

In 12 career games vs. Chicago, Johnson has recorded more than 100 receiving yards just twice. He was held to four catches for 44 yards earlier this season.

Tillman is a physical cornerback and plays tough at the line of scrimmage, which defenders have to do to have any chance against Megatron.

The Bears will no doubt try to limit Johnson after watching the tape of his 14-catch, 329-yard performance against Dallas his last time out.

CBs Chris Houston/Darius Slay vs. WRs Brandon Marshall/Alshon Jeffery

This matchup will be particularly important when the Lions are in the nickel (which they are about 50 percent of the time). Nickel cornerback Bill Bentley is doubtful with a left knee injury and that means the Lions are likely to move Rashean Mathis, their most consistent cornerback this year, inside in the slot on nickel situations.

That means the veteran Houston and rookie Darius Slay will man the outside against one of the best receiving tandems in the NFL in Marshall and Jeffery.

Houston is coming off his best game of the year against Dallas, a much-needed performance after a rocky start to the season.

Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham told reporters on Friday that Slay simply needed to trust his ability and start paying faster. He’ll have a good test today.

OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH: LIONS

Devin Taylor, DE:

Taylor will see his reps increase dramatically with Ziggy Ansah doubtful to play because of an ankle injury. Taylor has eight tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack and a forced fumble in a reserve roll this season. He’s been a playmaker, when given the opportunity, and he’ll have plenty of that in Chicago today.

Stephen Tulloch, LB:

A lot of the spotlight at linebacker has gone to DeAndre Levy, and deservedly so, but Tulloch has turned in a fine first half of the season in his own right. He leads the team with 65 tackles and had 14 of them, plus a sack, in the last meeting with Chicago.

Brandon Pettigrew, TE:

Pettigrew had probably his finest all-around game of the season against the Bears in Week 4. He was terrific as a blocker sealing edge after edge for Reggie Bush. He aslo caught all seven of his targets for 54 yards. The Bears don’t have Lance Briggs this time around, which could mean some open areas in the middle of the field for Pettigrew and rookie tight end Joseph Fauria.

OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH: BEARS

Matt Forte, RB:

Forte broke a 53-yard touchdown run in the first meeting and had 95 rushing yards and 22 receiving. In 11 career meetings against Detroit, he has 1,316 scrimmage yards (972 rushing, 344 receiving) and nine touchdowns.

Devin Hester, KR:

Hester has 20 career return touchdowns (including playoffs), which are the most in NFL history. The Lions did a pretty good job bottling him up in the first meeting as he averaged 24.5 yards on six kickoff returns and had just 17 total punt return yards on two attempts.

Alshon Jeffery, WR:

The second-year receiver had five catches for 107 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting, leading the team in receiving. He has 25 catches for 517 yards (103.4 per game) and three touchdowns over his past five games.