With a history of hard hits between these two teams over the years, the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions made a concerted effort to emphasize their mutual respect for one another in anticipation of Monday night's big game at Soldier Field, as Michael C. Wright of ESPN Chicago writes.
Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz noted in the buildup before Monday's game that physical play doesn't represent a lack of respect:
Just because games are chippy doesn't mean the teams don't respect each other and don't want the emphasis to be the play on the field... There are a lot of great players that are going to play in this game on both sides of the ball, and I think these guys know each other very well.
Last season, the two teams split a pair of rough, competitive games that included a bevy of hard hits, on-field shoving matches and fines from the commissioner's office. In the Bears' 37-13 win over the Lions last November, six different players received fines totaling $62,500.
Coming into Monday night's game, the Bears are a rested team riding a three-game winning streak, while the Lions are looking to sustain some of the momentum from last week's overtime victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. With a Detroit victory, every team in the NFC North would be within two games of each other.