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10 QUESTIONS WITH TWENTYMAN: What do Lions need to do to win in Chicago?

During the regular season Tim Twentyman will answer 10 good questions every week from his Twitter account @ttwentyman in a feature we call "10 Questions with Twentyman."

20man: Take advantage of red zone opportunities. The Lions can't go on the road again this week and expect to win a game settling for field goals. We saw last week how it can cost them a game. Detroit currently ranks 29th in red zone efficiency this season.

In their three victories, Detroit is a combined 8-for-14 (57 percent) in the red zone. In their five losses, they're 4-for-13 (31 percent).

For how good Chicago's defense has been this year, they're just 22nd in the league in red zone defense (65.5 percent). They are allowing opposing quarterbacks a passer rating north of 125.0 with nine touchdowns and no interceptions in the red zone.

How good the Lions can be in the red zone Sunday converting those opportunities into touchdowns will directly correlate to winning or losing, in my opinion.

20man: I always say it's my belief that games are won and lost by the players inside the white lines.

That being said, offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter has to put his players in a better position to be successful. Cooter said as much in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

"I'm not doing a good enough job getting us ready to play well on Sundays," he said. "It's just overall, we have to play better. I have to coach better, I have to get our guys better."

This is a big week for the Lions' offense and for Cooter after playing two straight weeks of fundamentally unsound and honestly boring football offensively in losses to Seattle and Minnesota.

Playing inconsistently on one side of the ball three weeks in a row starts to border on being a trend. That's where the game plan part of things has to be evaluated.

20man: I thought Lawson played pretty well last week. He did give up the short touchdown to Adam Thielen, but he also allowed just three catches on his coverage the whole game for 11 total yards. A lack of natural ball skills is the biggest issue with his game, but he's tough, and is usually in good position to make a play. With him it's just a matter of making the play. There's something to work with there.

Teez Tabor has had bigger issues the last three weeks. The big knock on him coming in was a lack of long speed, and that's shown up in games on both vertical and long crossing routes. Teams are attacking him when he gets in the game. He's allowed 13 receptions on 14 targets for 235 yards and two scores the last three weeks.

He's still young, and inexperienced, but it hasn't looked good for him early on. It was also rough for Darius Slay early in his career, but not this rough. There has to be some concern there.

20man: I think we have to pump the breaks a little bit on the offensive line concerns. Let's not forget this was a unit that gave up just 13 sacks in its first seven games, among the fewest in the league. We've also seen improvement in the run blocking, albeit inconsistently, this season.

Last week's 10-sack performance was bad. No way around it. The players upfront called it "embarrassing" after the game. But how do they respond?

The good thing about this week's game is the Bears have a great defense and a terrific front seven. They're going to come after Detroit. Those players upfront have a chance to redeem themselves after last week's performance. Let's see how they play this week before we start talking about some bigger picture problems.

20man: Let's hope not.

I think there's still kind of a feeling out process going on with Cooter and this offense minus Tate. He was a big part of what they did the last four and a half seasons. Don't expect them to have it figured out without him in one week.

Cooter is still learning what the strengths and weaknesses are of the other guys stepping in at that spot, and he's also seeing if Riddick can be a permanent fixture in the slot. We have to give it a little time.

The one thing I'm looking for, however, is for Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. to step up. No Tate means more opportunities for everyone, but especially those two. They need to take advantage. Six catches the last three weeks combined isn't good enough from Golladay.

20man: Bellore played six snaps last week in Minnesota. He played two snaps against Seattle. Part of that has been dictated by the circumstances of those two games. The Lions got down by double digits and were forced to pass to try to get back into the game. There's no room for the fullback in that scenario. 

The simple answer is the Lions need to play better earlier in games to force their will on opposing defenses and play with their tempo and pace.

If the Lions can establish some semblance of a run game and put themselves in good down-and-distance situations, we should see Bellore and some of the power run personnel groupings early and often. If they don't protect the quarterback and get behind the chains, we won't. It's really that simple.

20man: Ansah said this week he felt "amazing" after playing in his first game in two months. He looked pretty good on that sack of Kirk Cousins last Sunday -- A really explosive play from him.

When Ansah is on the field, he makes an impact. He only played 12 snaps last week after sitting out the previous six games. I'd expect that total to increase significantly this week. Ansah looks good from an injury and explosion standpoint, it's really just a matter of getting his legs under him and his endurance up after sitting out so long.

20man: I was a little surprised Brandon Powell didn't see any snaps on offense last week. I knew TJ Jones was going to be part of the plan in the slot, and I wrote last week that Riddick appeared to be in the mix too, but I thought Powell might at least get a look. The fact that the team signed Bruce Ellington this week further complicates things for Powell's chances of seeing the field on offense.

I see a limited portion of practice every day, so I can't really speak to how he looks there or the extent of his work on offense in practice. It just seems to me like he's in the plan on special teams, but not so much on offense at this point. We'll see if that changes at all moving forward.

20man: That will be an interesting one. The Lions signed Ellington just this week. He'll have three days of practice and a walkthrough on Saturday. I don't know if that's enough time. Typically we don't see players active the first game after they're signed midweek, but this offense has looked bad the last two weeks, and the Lions need to figure out their slot situation sooner rather than later.

20man: Easiest question I've gotten. The answer is win games. Put a streak of wins together and get back into the hunt.

This is a fan base dying for some consistent success. If this team can find a way to be consistently competitive, this city and the fan base wouldn't be able to get enough of them.

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