Sunday, October 05, 2008

On Tap: Da Bears!

In the first game of the post-Millen era, the Lions play the Chicago Bears. These two teams have swept each other going all the way back to 2004. It was the season opener in 2004 where Detroit snapped its NFL-record 24 straight road losses. This game also saw the official beginning of the end of Charles Rogers' career in pro football, as he suffered a second season-ending injury, breaking his clavicle.

In 2005, led by rookie QB Kyle Orton, the Bears dominated Detroit in both games, despite the fact that both games were won by Chicago's defense, the Tampa Two. Neither Joey Harrington nor Jeff Garcia could pull off a victory against this rookie.

Come 2006, Rod Marinelli's first season as Head Coach, the Lions were once again swept by the Bears. Nothing of note, except maybe that this was the season Chicago went on to lose in SuperBowl XLI against *yawn* the Colts.

Last year, the upstart Lions started the season 6-2, including having swept the Bears. A 34-point fourth quarter scoring effort in Detroit broke a record, while an upset at Soldier Field made victory that much more sweet.

Today: I pick Chicago over Detroit. Coming off a bye, the Lions have spoken about opening up the offense. Which means they may add passing to their attack, apparently. The Chicago defense, a defense that is the same as Detroit's (only theirs works), will dominate Detroit's offense, despite not having DT Tommie Harris.

On the other side of the ball, the biggest story will be Running Back Kevin Jones returning to Detroit after wrongfully being cut in the offseason. He won't say it, but Jones wants to run all over the Detroit D. I hope he does, but he'll be splitting carries with rookie RB Matt Forte.

To me, this defined the ineptitude of the Marinelli era. You had two RBs, Jones and Tatum Bell. Bell played five games and was benched for the remainder of the year after demaning a trade. Jones came in off a lisfranc injury and outplayed all other RBs on the roster when Mike Martz wanted to run the ball. But Jones gets hurt again, and goes on IR two years in a row. What does Detroit do? Cut Jones, re-sign Bell, and then watch as Bell founders in preseason while Jones goes to Chicago. Bell ends up being cut, while Jones is doing fine in Chicago after signing a one-year tender for the Bears.

Okay, I've gone with the Bears. Final score:

Chicago 24, Detroit 10.

The Lions go 0-4, and the calls for Drew Stanton to play grow louder. Stanton is not ready. I repeat, NOT READY. If anything, give Orlovsky a start or two. He can't be any worse, and you might as well see what you have in him in case Stanton doesn't pan out. And all losses for the remainder of the season must be added to Matt Millen's tally.

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