1. Jay Cutler is back this week, putting him ahead of schedule in his recovery from a groin injury. Do you think Cutler is potentially rushing back too soon?
Cutler will start, and even though he's known to be a fast healer, that still surprises me. He tore his friggin' groin muscle (oww) but is back after missing just one game (thanks to a fortuitous bye). There are some fans who would still prefer to see Josh McCown start again to give Cutler some extra rest, but the doctors say Cutler is ready, so we will see.
2. The Bears have had a tough time stopping the run as of late. Is this simply the result of losing so many players to injuries, or is something wrong with the scheme?
To be honest, it's been very tough to pin down. The front four took a major blow when All-Pro DT Henry Melton went down, and then again when his backup, Nate Collins, experienced the same injury a week later. So depth is definitely a part of it, especially with linebacker Lance Briggs now sidelined. Overall, the defense just isn't generating that push we are used to seeing, even with some of the veteran starters.
3. Both the Lions and Bears are among the best teams in the entire NFL in the sacks allowed department. Has the Bears' offensive line been the biggest surprise so far this season for Chicago?
Absolutely, especially when you consider the turnover from 2012. Center Roberto Garza is the only guy lacing it up this year on the OL who was a part of last year's crew. We have a new LT (Jermon Bushrod), LG (Matt Slauson), RG (rookie Kyle Long) and RT (rookie Jordan Mills). With that kind of turnover, with a brand new offense, especially starting two rookies, it could have been bad. But they are getting the job done and have been a very pleasant surprise. Add to that the offense is moving very quickly under Marc Trestman and the quarterbacks are getting the ball out fast, and we end up seeing a lot less sacks.
4. One what matchup will the Bears have to win on Sunday if they want to beat the Lions?
My initial thought was for our OL to win the battle against the Lions DL, but more than that, we have to be able to get pressure on Matthew Stafford. If he is able to play pitch and catch with Calvin Johnson all day, it could make for a long Sunday afternoon in Chicago.
5. With Aaron Rodgers sidelined for at least the next few weeks, which team do you think will emerge as the eventual NFC North champion?
It is absolutely the worst-case scenario for the Pack to lose Rodgers, but hopefully he will be back for them sooner than later. Despite being a very competitive division, you always want to see each team put forth their best effort. With Rodgers down, the Lions and Bears absolutely have a chance to make up some ground, and at this point in the season, it's hard to say who comes out ahead. It wouldn't surprise me to see all three teams with 9+ wins after the regular season is over.