Week 4: Bears-Lions matchup analysis

Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Chicago Bears (3-0) at Detroit Lions (2-1)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Ford Field, Detroit - TV: FOX
*TV announcers: Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick, Laura Okmin
*Keys to the game: Blitz-happy is no way to live in pass coverage. Chicago dialed up extra pressure nearly one-third of its defensive snaps last week. If CB Charles Tillman (groin, knee) isn't 100 percent, his marquee matchup with WR Calvin Johnson becomes a mismatch in Detroit's favor. The Bears are likely willing to bring heat against LT Riley Reiff to gauge where QB Matt Stafford will look on hot reads with WR Nate Burleson (arm) out. RB Reggie Bush is a matchup problem for the Bears, who have been nipped by his edge-bending speed in previous seasons. The Bears' offense is about measured aggression centralized around RB Matt Forte. He averages 119.9 yards from scrimmage in 10 career games against the Lions. Detroit's bind is that protecting its secondary remains a priority. WR Brandon Marshall and TE Martellus Bennett have favorable matchups if Cutler gets the time he needs to operate from the pocket.
*Matchup to watch - Bears LG Kyle Long vs. Lions DT Ndamukong Suh: Bears GM Phil Emery was upfront about drafting Long to contend with Suh, a thought Suh has taken as an insult. Long continues to grade out well. How he fares in a pass-fail matchup with hyperactive, powerful Suh will directly impact Chicago's success on offense.
*Player spotlight - Lions WR Ryan Broyles: Burleson's Happy's Pizza mishap pushes Broyles into the starting lineup. He's coming back from a second torn ACL and the Lions had hoped to inch him along. WR Patrick Edwards and Bush could possibly take snaps in the slot to spare Broyles the strain of going from 22 plays last week to 65-75.
*Fast facts: The Bears have won nine of the past 10 meetings. ... Tillman has five interceptions, three returned for touchdowns, against Detroit. ... The Lions were 2-8 without Burleson (broken leg) in 2012.
Jay Cutler is 7-1 in this matchup -- while Lions coach Jim Schwartz is 1-7 against Chicago -- and with the weapons to exploit Detroit's secondary plus a zone running game hitting its stride, the Bears cruise out of Motown in first place.
*Our pick: Bears 33-24

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