It's an early showdown in Motown with first place in the NFC North on the line.
The Lions have already held serve once at home against a division opponent Week 1 vs. Minnesota. Can they do it again today vs. the first-place Chicago Bears?
"It means more because it's an NFC North game," head coach Jim Schwartz said. "Teams know each other real well. Their defense hasn't changed a whole lot. Their offense has changed a little bit. There personnel is pretty much the same, both offense and defense. We have a lot of respect for them and we're going to have to play our very best on Sunday to come out with a win."
The Lions and Bears meet today for the 167th time in a rivalry that dates back to 1930.
The Lions hosted the Bears for the first-ever Thanksgiving Day game in 1934 at Detroit Stadium in a game Chicago won 19-16.
The Bears have won nine of the last 10 matchups, including both meetings last season.
A LOOK AT THE STATS
|Points per game||27.3 (6t)||31.7 (3)|
|Total yards per game||410.7 (4)||330.7 (22)|
|Rushing yards||74.7 (26)||105.0 (17)|
|Passing yards||336.0 (2)||225.7 (21)|
|Points allowed||23.0 (16)||24.7 (19)|
|Total yards allowed||366.0 (18)||383.0 (25)|
|Rushing yard allowed||104.0 (15)||88.7 (8)|
|Passing yards allowed||262.0 (18)||294.3 (24)|
|Turnover ratio||3 (6t)||6 (2t)|
BY THE NUMBERS
3: Defensive touchdowns scored by the Bears the last two games. They've recovered six fumbles and intercepted five passes in 2013.
260: Yards of early production the Lions are getting back in running back
62.3: Average receiving yards per game the last three outings against the Bears for Lions All-Pro receiver
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
When the Bears drafted Long in the first-round this year, they did so with Lions talented defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in mind.
Well, the rookie will get his first "measuring stick" matchup today against the All-Pro Suh.
"We will see how well prepared he is to block me when we play on Sunday," Suh said this week, when asked about Long. "That's their choice. That's their draft. That is not anything of my concern. I just look forward to and digest whoever I have in front me."
Digest and spit out, that is.
Through three games, Suh leads the NFL in quarterback disruptions (21), and has been the Lions most valuable player on defense.
WR Calvin Johnson vs. CB Charles Tillman
The Bears, and Tillman in particular, have done a very good job limiting Megatron in the past.
In 11 career matchups, Johnson has reached 100 receiving yards just twice and was held to 34 and 72 yards receiving, respectively, in two games against Chicago last year.
"It's a game where we really have to be patient and when we get opportunities we really have to take advantage of it," Johnson said. "I missed a couple last year but you have take advantage of them when you get them from those guys."
Tillman has had more success over his career against bigger and more physical receivers, because that's how he likes to the play the game.
"Whether it's Calvin Johnson or if I'm just staying on the left side or the right side or if I'm matching up ... every game, you don't take it personal, but you just take it as competition," Tillman said.
"I think we all play this game because of the competition. We like to compete, we're competitors. I think Calvin is probably the best competitor in the game right now at the receiver position."
Peppers accounted for just one tackle in a Week 3 win over Pittsburgh, but recovered a fumble, and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown against the Steelers. Much the same way Suh's impact isn't always measured in the stat book, Peppers also contributed four quarterback pressures.
Reiff, who's in his first full year as a starter, has already matched up with one of the league's best in Jared Allen Week 1, and came out of that showdown well.
Reiff's been solid and is probably coming off his best game of the season last week in Washington.
Peppers is a big, strong rusher, who will test Reiff's strength and ability to anchor. It should be a good test for him.
If the Lions can limit the Bears pass rush, they have a good chance to win.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: LIONS
Reggie Bush, RB:
The Bears have given up 18 passing plays of 20-plus yards and three of the 40-plus variety. It just takes one alley for Bush to change the complexion of the game.
The Lions are going to lean on Broyles, and others, to fill the void left by
Young will jump into a starting role with
PLAYERS TO WATCH: BEARS
Matt Forte, RB:
The talented Bears running back has been a thorn in the Lions side the last five years. He has 1,199 scrimmage yards (119.9 per game) and eight touchdowns in 10 career meetings with the Lions.
One thing the Lions need to be particularly conscious of Sunday is the screen game with Forte. The Bears are a very good screening team this year with a more athletic offensive line.
Martellus Bennett, TE:
Forte, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery get a lot of the headlines, but Bennett might have been their biggest addition this offseason. He's solidified their passing game with three touchdowns in the Bears' first three games.
Jay Cutler, QB:
He's completing passes at a 67 percent clip in Marc Trestman's new West Coast Offense and is distributing the ball to all his weapons. In years past it was the Cutler to Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte show. The same thing can't be said this year.
He's delivering the football quickly and decisively and it's a big reason the Bears are 3-0 on the year.