We are now mere hours from the start of what is guaranteed to be the most raucous crowd at Ford Field to date when the Chicago Bears take on the Detroit Lions in a much-hyped Monday Night Football match-up.
The Lions are 4-0 for the first time since 1980 and are eying their first 5-0 start since the 1950s.
But it’s the Bears who have the most to lose and to gain in this contest.
The Bears, already down 0-1 in the NFC North, cannot afford to fall three games back of the Green Bay Packers and Lions. Better yet, I cannot afford to take the kind of crap I’m likely to take should the Lions beat the Bears tonight.
I will find myself in enemy territory tonight; at a filled-to-the-brim Ford Field that won’t be brimming with as many Bears fans that normally pack the place. What can I say, Bears fans travel well.
There are three things that I am keeping my eye on tonight:
1) Can Devin Hester be his ridiculous self on the night when he has been at his most ridiculous?
-Devin Hester has been the greatest kick returner to ever play from the first time he stepped on the field in 2006. That year was also the year that Hester had his first Monday Night return, the infamous “They are who we thought they were” game against the Arizona Cardinals. Hester has returned five kickoffs and punts for touchdowns on Monday nights. Could he be poised for another tonight against the red-hot Lions?
2) Can Matt Forte have an impact with the Lions game-planning against him?
The Lions know that to stop the Bears offense they must stop their man on offense. For the first four weeks of the season that man has been Matt Forte. After accounting for more than 70% of the Bears offense last week against the Carolina Panthers, where he rushed for 205 yards, can Forte manage to make an impact on this offense when the Lions are coming after him?
3) Can Jay Cutler keep his cool against the Lions defense?
Jay Cutler has taken more sacks than any quarterback should take in several seasons since last year. Behind a shoddy offensive line Cutler hasn’t been able to disguise his discomfort in the pocket–of lack thereof. Mike Martz won’t dial-up a game-plan seen two weeks ago against the Packers, but Cutler is still going to be expected to drop back and complete passes. Can Cutler maintain his cool–and his upward stance–with a dominant Lions defensive line coming after him?
But this isn’t your typical Lions team. Anything is possible, especially when you’re 4-0.
I just pray that when the game is over that I am will chanting “Bear down, Chicago Bears” down the concourse at Ford Field.