FanPost

The Weekend Spotlight - Week13 Edition

Good Evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to another edition of the Weekend Spotlight.  I am your host, KDawg.  The twelfth installment of my weekly series has the Detroit Lions clashing with the Chicago Bears, for the second time this season, at home in Detroit, MI, at Ford Field.  Coming off of yet another loss in week 12 against the Patriots, the Lions will play against a team that they already had beaten once this season (only to lose on a BS call by the refs...call me whatever you want to for blaming the refs, but it is TRUE), but who is now heavily favored to win again.  The Lions will be led this week by Drew Stanton, and they will be without defensive leader Kyle Vanden Bosch, but as usual I still have great expectations for the Lions in this game.  Once again, practically no one is even giving the Lions a chance in this game, and again I believe that the Lions COULD still win.  The Lions are faced with a plethura of injuries, whereas the Bears have very few, but with a little luck it will not be the difference between a Lion victory and another loss.  Let's take a look at the injury reports for both teams:

Detroit Lions Week 13 Injury Report
Pos. Name Injury Wednesday Thursday Friday Status
K Jason Hanson Right Knee DNP
Out/IR
Not Listed
-
QB
Shaun Hill
Right Finger
DNP
DNP
DNP
Out
QB Matthew Stafford Right Shoulder DNP
DNP
DNP
Out
DE Kyle Vanden Bosch Neck DNP
DNP
DNP
Doubtful
RB Jahvid Best Toe LP
LP
LP
Probable
WR
Nate Burleson
Hamstring
LP
LP
LP
Probable
T
Gosder Cherilus
Knee
FP
DNP
LP
Questionable
LB DeAndre Levy Groin LP
LP
LP
Probable
TE Tony Scheffler Rib LP
LP
LP
Probable
DE Cliff Avril Quadricep FP
FP
FP
Probable
DT Corey Williams Shoulder/Groin FP
FP
FP
Probable

 

Ok...so there are three major concerns for me when I look at this injury report for the Lions.  1) Drew Stanton will be the starting QB on Sunday.  Even though I like Drew, and I think he can get the job done, I would feel much safer if it were Matthew Stafford or even Shaun Hill.  Not because Shaun Hill is that much better of a QB, in my opinion, but rather because Drew Stanton has not had any time to get comfortable with the first team offense (other that a full week of practice this week and a few stints in relief this year).  2)  Kyle Vanden Bosch is doubtful.  That is not good.  He will probably not play this week, and that means we will see Cliff Avril and Turk McBride/Lawrence Jackson at DE most of the time during this game.  On the bright side, if KVB is inactivated for this game, maybe that opens the door for Willie Young to play this week.  I would like to see the young man (no pun intended) get a decent amount of snaps this week.  3) Gosder Cherilus is listed as questionable.  This may be the most concerning thing about the injury report to me.  Some say he has done an adequate job this year, and I will admit that he has been much better against the pass this season, but if he plays injured I seriously doubt he will be very effective at all on running downs (he needs his knees to drive block), and I am also afraid that it will hamper him in pass pro as well.  Look out DREW!!!  Time to make up those key words I talked about in the past...

Chicago Bears Week 13 Injury Report
Pos. Name Injury Wednesday Thursday Friday Status
LB
Pisa Tinoisamoa Knee
DNP
LP
DNP
Out
WR
Rashied Davis Shoulder
LP
Not Listed
Not Listed
-

 

Ummm...yeah.  We already know that Nick Roach can step right in for Tinoisamoa and not miss a beat, and the injury to Rashied Davis will make no difference in Chicago's passing game either, so the Bears are basically 100% healthy.

The Lions are now 2-9 on the season.  Point blank, that is pretty much all there is to it.  With 12 weeks of the regular season already behind us, once again I will reveal who I believe will be the key players, on the Lion's offense and defense, for a Lion VICTORY!  As usual, I will provide you with the logic behind the reasoning for my picks, including stats.  It will be a difficult task to beat the Bears at this point, but it is not impossible even if it is improbable (by whatever standard).  I am going to try to keep it short and sweet this week, as I am short on time and late as it is.  Regardless of how bleak it may seem, VICTORY can STILL be ours, and I'll tell you why and how as the WS W13E begins after the jump...

Statistically speaking, the Bears are one of the best DEFENSIVE teams we have faced this season.  On the other hand, the Bears also field the WORST offense (total) we have faced this year.  In fact, the Bears currently rank 4th in the league in total defense, 16th in the league against the pass, and 2nd in the league against the run, while at the same time fielding the 28th best total offense, the 26th best passing offense, and the 21st best rushing offense.  In other words, they are winning games based on their defense.

Comparatively, the Bears defense is the best we have face all year against the run, and the 6th best against the pass (only the Giants, Packers, Bills, Jets, and Vikings are better against the pass, of the teams we have already played).  That said, on the other side of the ball Chicago has the 28th ranked total offense (worst we have faced), while also fielding the worst passing offense we have seen and only managing to be the 4th worst team we have played in terms of rushing the ball (only Green Bay, Washington, and Dallas were worse).  Ladies and Gentlemen, we have come very close to beating some teams this year that were FAR superior to the Chicago Bears offensively.  I believe we can win this game as long as we do not let their defense beat us, and as long as we do not beat ourselves.  

Offensively, the Lions still sport the 6th best passing offense in the league.  Some say that we are doomed with Drew Stanton at the helm, but dare I say that it is not ALL the QB that has made this possible?  I do not see a huge falloff in our passing game this week, even with #5 at the helm.  The Bears secondary is beatable, and the Lions need to find and exploit their weaknesses by getting the ball in the hands of Calvin Johnson.  What I hope NOT to see is Stanton trying to pass the ball off to Pettigrew as much as Shaun Hill has been doing.  The strength of the Bears defense is clearly their linebackers, and Urlacher and Co are VERY good in coverage.  We need to throw the ball to the outsides and in the flats, only taking shots over the middle when Stanton sees the blitz coming and he has a window where a defender came from.

Believe it or not, in terms of total offense the Lions are currently ranked 15th in the league.  However, they have the 28th best rushing offense and they are facing the 2nd best run defense in the league (the best we have faced all season).  I have no doubts that we will struggle to run the ball again this week (unless it is a scramble by the QB), so I REALLY hope that Linehan and Schwartz are ready to let Stanton throw the ball a TON.  Sure, we can (and will) test the waters a few times on the ground, but hopefully it will be just to set up play fakes more than it will be in a futile effort to actually establish a run game.  Albert Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results", and it certainly does not take a genius to realize that we can not run the ball to save our lives.

If the Lions hope to win this game, then there is really only one player on offense, in my mind, who is undoubtedly going to be the key to success or ultimate failure in this game.  This is it...for all of the marbles I am naming Drew Stanton as the KEY player on offense, to a Lion victory this week.  I think it is a no brainer.  If Drew plays well, and does not kill us with turnovers, then we have a shot.  If he gets the ball to our playmakers, and methodically marches the offense into scoring positions effectively and efficiently, then the pressure will ALL be on Chicago's offense to try to keep up.  If our offense can score with any consistency whatsoever, then I like our chances against the Bears offense.  If Drew Stanton turns the ball over 4-5 times, then in all likelihood we will lose this game in the 4th quarter again, as our defense will eventually tire out and give up like it did in the 2nd half last week.  Tom Brady pulled off a beautiful version of Muhammed Ali's rope-a-dope technique last week...he waiting until we were tired, and then he moved in for the KO, plain and simple.

The Lions rank 21st in the league in total defense, they are 18th against the pass, and they are 24th against the run. Comparatively for the Bears, Detroit fields the 5th worst total defense that they have faced this season (Dallas, Buffalo, Washington, and Seattle being worse).  The Bears are TWO AND TWO against defenses that are WORSE than ours (they lost to Washington and Seattle...and they should have lost to us too)!  Against the pass, Detroit is the 4th worst team Chicago has faced (Dallas, Washington, and Seattle are worse...and the Bears lost to WAS and SEA), and against the run Detroit is also the 4th worst the Bears have faced this year (Carolina, Washington, and Buffalo being worse...and the Bears lost to WAS and BARELY beat Buffalo, sort of like we barely lost to Buffalo).

That said, on defense we really only have to do 3 things to beat the Bears.  1) We have to stop Matt Forte from beating us.  Forte had 151 yards receiving and 2 receiving TDs (one of his 7 catches went for 89 yards) and 50 yards rushing.  Pretty much any time you let a running back get 200 yards from scimmage on you, you're going to lose.  We have to stop him first and foremost, and we can not allow any explosion plays by Forte.  2) We have to put pressure on Jay Cutler all day long.  If we can get in Cutler's face on passing downs, hurry him, hit him, and sack him consistently, then it will go a long way to helping the Lions win, especially if they are stopping Forte.  3) Create turnovers.  The Lions had the game won in the first week of the season against Chicago, because they WON the turnover battle.  The turnover ratio is going to play a key role in this game, and I am almost certain that the team who has the fewest will win.

That said, I can not see a standout player on the Lions defense who will be the ultimate KEY to a Lion victory this week.  If I had to name one player alone, I guess it would have to be the linebacker who ends up matched up on Forte the most.  I believe that would be Julian Peterson.  If JP has a good game, and he stops Matt Forte from beating us by taking short passes 89 yards, then I think we have a good chance to win this game.  Guys...the Bears have not improved as much as people would like to think they have.  They have not suddenly transformed into a better team over the last 6 weeks.  They have just had things go their way.  They have won 4 games in a row, but they also LOST 2 games in a row to Washington and Seattle right before that.  All of the talk about their offensive line making great strides is BS hype.  Half of their 8 wins have come against teams that are worse than we are in multiple categories, and if you count the win against US, then that is 5 of 8 wins against weak teams (not to mention their losses to Washington and Seattle).

The only good teams that Chicago has faced and beaten this year are Green Bay and Philadelphia.  The Dolphins, Vikings, Bills, Panthers, Cowboys, and US have all been wins against marginal teams at best...and some of those were wins that they either BARELY won, or should not have won at all.  All I am saying is don't believe all of the hype...the Chicago Bears have a great defense, but other than that they are grossly OVERRATED.  We CAN win this game, and all it will take is for things to go OUR way for once instead of theirs.  I believe it will be a close game, that neither team will break 21 points, and that the Lions will come out on top!

Once again, I want to thank all of you who read this post.  As always, I hope the refs do not beat us, and I hope that the Lions play a well disciplined game.   This has been KDawg, and you have been reading the twelfth regular season edition of The Weekend Spotlight!  Happy Football Sunday ladies and gentlemen, and GOOOOOOOOOO LIOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNSS!!!!!

--Like my post?  Give me a rec!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pride Of Detroit or its writers.

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