There are a few things you need to know about my friend Peter Schrager. He likes to play it safe. He loves picking the home team. And he really likes riding a wave.
Pete, the NFL, more than ever before, is a week to week league. Don’t overreact to the Bears being so jazzed up on Monday night, motivated by being 8 point dogs, and beating the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Bears host the Lions in a gigantic clash. It’s a Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick special on the NFL on FOX. It’s a game loaded with wild card implications. Give me the better team, even on the road. I’ll pull the trigger on the upset special and take the Lions.
I love Jay Cutler. He has a cannon for an arm and despite claims to the contrary after the NFC title game last year, Cutler is the epitome of toughness. He is also the second best quarterback in this game. Stafford is healthy now after the Lions bye week. Stafford has been super clutch this season, ranking second in the NFL with a 112.4 rating in the second half of games. Stafford and Calvin Johnson have arguably been the best quarterback and receiver combination in the league this year. Johnson leads the NFL with 11 touchdown catches, becoming the 2nd player in the NFL since 1970 to have 11 touchdown grabs in his team’s first 8 games of a season. And I kind of get the feeling that Calvin Johnson is out for a little bit of revenge.
You might remember the controversy last year when the Bears beat the Lions 19-14 in week number 1 of the 2010 campaign. Johnson caught a touchdown pass. 100 people watching in a bar thought it was a touchdown. I was convinced it was a catch. It was ruled incomplete. Do you think Johnson, already a match-up nightmare for Chicago, might have revenge on his mind?
I think you have to give the Bears offensive line credit for improving this year as the season has moved along. The Eagles couldn’t touch Cutler on Monday night. But I just don’t see this trend holding up on Sunday afternoon. Ndamukong Suh is a beast. Sunday marks his first game since he met with Roger Goodell about his reputation as a dirty player. Do you think Suh is going to change? I don’t. And he shouldn’t. Suh is going to dominate the Bears offensive line. And fellow lineman Cliff Avril is looking for his third game in a row with a sack. Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch each have 5 sacks on the season.
I know that Matt Forte is having a sensational season. And in theory, the Lions shouldn’t be able to bottle him up. But I think the Lions will outscore the Bears. Look for both tight ends, Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler, to have big games.
Did I mention the Lions already beat the Bears this year on Monday night?
Did I mention the Lions now employ former Bears safety Chris Harris, who can give Jim Schwartz good information on the Bears thinking?
Lovie can’t play the respect card with the Bears favored.