The Lions got off the hook last week with their overtime upset thrilling victory over the Eagles, and the Bears of course were idle on their bye week.
Can the Lions become serious playoff contenders or will the Bears top-ranked defense destroy them at the point of attack?
Julius Peppers (ankle) has not gone off quite like we have seen him from the past, but Henry Melton is the main lineman that has performed like a Pro Bowler and the secondary has gone from a weak link to one of the strengths of the team.
Charles Tillman has always been consistent, but he was once plagued by getting beat by the deep ball by most notably Green Bay.
Instead, Tillman alongside Tim Jennings have been the most opportunistic defense in the NFL. Their staggering numbers have been borderline insane and that is why there is hope for this Bears to perhaps win the NFC North and contend for that coveted first-round bye.
Although we have seen several top seeds lose early in the postseason, this home field advantage and overall team speed on defense will be the key all year long.
Looking at the stats, you cannot help but fall in love with this team heading into their main event matchup against Stafford, Calvin and the Lions.
Chicago currently ranks first in points allowed per game (14.2), first in passes intercepted (13), fourth in sacks (18), first in rushing defense (65.8 YPG) and second in rushing touchdowns allowed (1, Texans have not allowed one yet).
Thus the key will be defending Matthew Stafford and one of the more gifted players in the entire NFL, Calvin Johnson.
We have seen constant double and even some triple coverage against ‘Megatron’ and you know Stafford will be eyeing on him early and often. The Madden ‘Curse’ has been simply shocking since it has never once failed us.
Drew Brees threw 22 INT and lost in the first round of the playoffs to a stinking 7-9 abysmal Seattle Seahawks team as New Orleans was the defending Super Bowl champions, as John Madden’s coveted game once again proved everybody.
No matter what the year, the curse has lived on and on to the point in which you should never throw your name into the running with the voting that now takes place to decide who graces it.
Calvin defeated Cam Newton in the finals, but it seems as if it has cursed them both quite frankly. The Lions proved they still can contend for an NFC North title and at the very worst a wild card bid with a very impressive overtime victory over the Eagles.
Philadelphia was a team that had been flawless in close battles, and it shows they playing with fire will eventually cost you severely.
Well, Chicago has the elite defense and special teams to you light up for a Christmas dinner, but how about their offensive production?
Jay Cutler has found Brandon Marshall seemingly on every critical passing down in the Bears four victories this year and it likely will once again come down to the former Bronco teammates again.
The Lions had zero picks heading into their game with the Eagles, but they were able to pluck away two INT to finally get on the board.
Pressuring Cutler has always been the recipe for disaster like any quarterback (not named Peyton, Brady, Brees), but he has simply gotten away and hit his check down receivers in stride.
Even without rookie sensation Alshon Jeffery, look for ‘Da Bears’ to squeak by a pesky Lions team that will mean business in the Windy City on national television.
Time: 8:40 p.m. Eastern
Experts Pick: Bears by 6
Danny V’s Pick: Bears 24, Lions 20