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Preview, prediction and matchups to watch when Bears battle Lions

The Lions have lost 20 consecutive road games. Their last win away from home – in Chicago in 2007. But the Bears have won 4 straight in the series vs. Detroit.

Both streaks will either continue or come to a crashing end Sunday at high noon when the teams meet for their season opener in Chicago. The outcome will depend in large part to who wins the following matchups…

Lions-Bears matchups to watch:

Lance Louis (G) / Olin Kreutz (C) vs. Ndamukong Suh (DT)

  • The guard-center combo of Louis-Kreutz will be responsible for banging on last year’s runner up to the Heisman runner up, Suh, for 60 minutes. Will the duo rudely welcome the rookie to the big leagues, or will Suh announce his NFL presence with authority?

Chris Williams (LT) vs. Kyle Vanden Bosch (DE)

  • Chris Williams gave up 4 sacks in a preseason game this year. We’ll have a pretty good idea of whether his exhibition performance was a mirage after he goes against the aging, but productive and fiery Vanden Bosch.

Zack Bowman (CB) vs. Calvin “Megatron” Johnson (WR)

  • Bowman got a taste of the freakish athletic abilities of Johnson early last year. It got so bad that Lovie switched Peanut to cover Johnson after one half of play. While no one can contain Megatron, Bowman will put up a good fight.

Javhid Best (RB) vs. Bears LBs

  • Look for the Lions to try and get the football into rookie speedster Best’s hands in the open field. When he does, Urlacher, Briggs and co. will have to make some open field tackles, or else Best’s stock will skyrocket amongst fantasy footballers after just one week.

Jeff Backus/Gosder Cherilous (T) vs. Julius Peppers (DE)

  • The Bears will probably move their shiny new quarterback harasser all over the line, allowing both Backus and Cherilous the joy of corralling the Bears new beast. Any consistent push Peppers can generate will cut down on the time Matt Stafford has to find his talented receiving threats – i.e. Johnson, Pettigrew, Best, Burleson.

Misc. crap you should know:

  • While the Bears appear to be in decent shape injury-wise, the Lions will be without starting MLB DeAndre Levy. And rising second-year safety Louis Delmas has missed significant time this preseason. Sound like he’ll go, but his health will be worth watching.
  • The Lions will feature 7 new starters on a defense that ranked dead last in the league last year in total yards allowed (370 per game).
  • The Bears will wear their road white jerseys to battle the heat.
  • Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli will scheme against his old team, which he led to the NFL’s first and only 0-16 record in 2008.
  • The Bears allowed an NFL worst 19 sacks this preseason – that’s a ridiculously high 4.75 times per game. At that rate, Cutler will be sacked 80 times this year.

Prediction:

If I have the Bears winning 10 games this year, I sure as hell better have them beat the Lions at home, right?

Bears: 26, Lions: 20


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