The Chicago Bears meet the Detroit Lions Sunday at 12:00 p.m. CST at Ford Field in Detroit. The streaking Bears (8-3) have won all four of their games since the bye week. The Lions (2-9) have struggled all season, most notably at quarterback. Matthew Stafford is out indefinitely, with shoulder problems that began (this year) in the season opener in Chicago when Julius Peppers dropped him for a sack.
Those problems appear to be getting worse for the Lions with Shaun Hill sitting out practice. It's being reported that his right index finger is taped up, and his status for Sunday is uncertain. Third string QB Drew Stanton took snaps in practice Tuesday.
While Bears players don't like to use phrases like 'message game', it's certain they remember the criticisms of the first meeting for these two teams, when Calvin Johnson let go of a seeming touchdown catch that was ruled incomplete. That non-catch sealed the victory for the Bears; many people viewed that as a bad call.
If the Bears see another third-string quarterback, as they did when Chad Henne and Chad Pennington were unavailable for the Miami Dolphins and Tyler Thigpen played, I'm sure we'll hear more observations about the poor nature of the Bears competition.
To which I'm gonna have to say: Tough.
The Bears lost two of their three starting linebackers in the first game against the Green Bay Packers in 2009. Brian Urlacher was gone for the year and Pisa Tinoisamoa was barely active, and I don't recall anyone wanting to put an asterisk on any of their losses. This years Bears squad has been incredibly healthy, and this late in the season it makes a difference.
While this has all the earmarks of a 'trap game' for the Bears, who could be looking forward to when they host the New England Patriots in week 14, I'm sure that Lovie Smith will use the criticisms from these two teams' Week One meeting to motivate them.
Keep looking at this space all week long, up to and including game time. We'll keep you updated and informed.
And by the way? If you have the NFL Network, they're showing the Bears/Eagles game on Replay at noon CST on Wednesday.