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NFC North MNF Showdown
Posted By: Alex Harris on 10/9/2011
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Early on in the season the Chicago Bears will play a pivotal division game tomorrow night against the surging Lions. The Lions haven’t won on Monday night since 1998 and Ford Field will be
electrifying, while Detroit looks to go 5-0. A Bears victory would allow them to stay relevant in the highly
competitive North division, especially if the Packers take care of Atlanta tonight. Falling to 2-3 and trailing two undefeated teams would not be the recipe for repeating as division champs. 
A lot of interesting subplots go into this game, including how the Bears go about stopping the lethal combination of Stafford and Johnson.  Also, the shaky offensive line will need to come through for Cutler especially with Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch coming after him. Nick Fairley will also be making his NFL regular season debut.  A positive for Chicago last week was the play of Matt Forte and how much they utilized him.  The more carries Forte gets the better off the Bears will be which is why my key to the game is the play calling of Mike Martz.

Chicago’s play calling has been terribly inconsistent all season long and the results have shown on the
scoreboard.  The two weeks in which they ran the ball at least 45 percent of the time they won and in the two losses they ran the ball a combined 24 times. You must have consistency in the NFL and 12 rushing attempts in a game will not produce positive results.  The league has transformed into a quarterbacks league, however you still need to have a rushing attack in order to be successful.  There is a reason why the Bears are in the bottom of the league in total offense, time of possession and rushing offense.  With the defense struggling they must develop some long drives to keep the defense off the field and keep Stafford and company on the sidelines.  For those who still think Mike Martz is an offensive genius take a look at this alarming statistic.  When Jay Cutler throws more than 35 passes, Chicago is 2-12.  When he throws 35 or fewer times, the Bears are 17-4.  Mike Martz needs to realize that he’s not in St. Louis anymore, calling plays for Warner, Faulk, Holt and Bruce.  He is calling plays for Cutler, Forte, Hester, Knox and Roy Williams and a troubling offensive line.  Different schemes are needed for different kinds of players and the sooner Martz comes to grip with this the more success he can have. 

Even if Forte gets stuffed a lot early they need to become creative and not abandon the run.  Time of possession will be huge in this game and the Bears must keep their defense off the field so there isn’t a repeat of last week against Carolina when they gave up 543 total yards.  If Mike Martz can lead a balanced attack the Bears have a much better chance at a big time road victory against a divisional

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