8:58 AM CST, December 27, 2012
If the Bears can’t play the Cardinals again, then they get perhaps the best opponent for their half of a must-win/then-pray Sunday to decide their postseason fate.
I mean, do you know how bad the Lions are?
Bad enough to lose 38-10 to the aforementioned dreadful Cardinals two week ago. Bad enough to lose seven games in a row. Bad enough that they are 23 turnovers worse this season than last.
Geez, they’re bad enough that even their good stats come with bad news. Calvin Johnson just broke Jerry Rice’s record for receiving yards in a season, but he has scored just five touchdowns after 16 last season.
In fact, Johnson nearly set a single-game record for receiving yards without a score.
What’s more, the Detroit Free Press pointed out, Johnson has been brought down at the 1-yard line five times this season and seven times inside the 3. One of those instances came against the Bears earlier this season, a play immediately followed by Joique Bell’s fumble that helped save a 13-7 win.
But wait. There are more miserable numbers that you’d expect to accompany a 4-11 team. The Lions have gotten just two points from their defense all season and have allowed 10 return touchdowns -- four interceptions and two each on kickoffs, punts and fumbles.
Hello, Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings.
And maybe someone could even wake up Devin Hester.
Thing is, you have to be capable of causing that misery, and historically, the Bears’ most important players have done exactly that.
Jay Cutler has thrown for 11 touchdowns against one interception in eight games against the Lions, including a four-score game several seasons ago.
Julius Peppers kills the Lions, and injures Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford while he’s at it, recording 11 sacks to go along with five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in nine career games.
Even Lovie Smith has gotten in good on the Lions, beating them eight times in the last nine games.
The losin’ Lions figure to be unfocused even more than their usual dumb and dirty selves. Out of any postseason consideration, the Lions seem to be about Stafford’s second straight season of 5,000 passing yards and Johnson becoming the first to reach 2,000 receiving yards.
So, the Bears get a must-have opponent for a must-win game. Then they have to appeal to a higher power: Aaron Rodgers.
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