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One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


Five keys for Detroit Lions to beat Chicago Bears, plus prediction

It doesn’t get any bigger than this in the middle of the NFL season. The Detroit Lions play the Bears at Chicago. Both own 5-3 records and are 2-1 in the NFC North. Can you say playoff implications?

Here are five keys for the Lions in the divisional match-up:

1. Pressure the quarterback early and often. Jay Cutler, who missed Monday night’s game with a groin injury, is expected to start. Chances are he won’t be 100 percent. That’s good for the Lions, but they need to take advantage. This week when Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall was asked if this offensive line is better than last year his first response was laughter. It’s much better, but in the first meeting — won by the Lions 40-32 on Sept. 29 — Cutler was sacked three times (twice by Ndamukong Suh) and pressured enough to throw three interceptions. That needs to happen again.

2. Give the ball to Reggie Bush and let him run. He had his best rushing game for the Lions this season against the Bears with 139 yards (including a 37-yard touchdown scamper). The Packers rushed for 199 yards against the Bears injury-depleted defense on Monday night. They miss linebacker Lance Briggs and he will be out again on Sunday.

3. Get Calvin Johnson into the game early and hope that he and Matthew Stafford are in the same zone as they were in the win against the Cowboys. Johnson’s 329-yard effort was great, but come on man it was only second-best in the NFL ever.  Nate Burleson will be out but there are enough other options to put in the slot (Bush, Johnson, Joe Fauria, Kevin Ogletree) that they should be OK without No. 13.

4. The Lions’ secondary must contain wide receiver Brandon Marshall who had seven catches for 79 yards and zero touchdowns in their first match-up this season. 

5. The defense must stop the big run or pass (stop me if you’ve heard this before). That includes stopping the always shifty Matt Forte who had a 53-yard touchdown run in the previous match-up.

Prediction: Lions 35, Bears 28

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


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