Banged Up Lions Defense Prepares For Bears
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By Chris Morgan
After a bye week, the Detroit Lions find themselves in an interesting position. They sit in a three-way tie atop the NFC North with a 5-3 record and, due to various injuries and Detroit’s easy schedule, a division win is not out of the question. Winning this week against the Bears on the road would go a long way toward making that a reality. Most of the focus will be on the Bears in terms of injury. This is because the status of their starting quarterback, Jay Cutler, is up in the air. There is talk he may be able to return to action from his groin injury, but it is far from a guarantee. However, despite the week off, the Lions have a couple injury questions of their own.
On offense, things look pretty good. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson is dealing with a knee injury, but he was able to practice Wednesday and should be able to play. Last time he took the field, he had 329 yards receiving. Megatron may be joined by wide receiver Nate Burleson this week. He is practicing after breaking his forearm earlier this year. Having him in the lineup would be nice for Detroit. Offensive tackle Corey Hilliard missed practice with a knee injury, but they Lions have shuffled offensive linemen this season and remained steady in terms of protection, especially pass protection.
The defense is a bigger question mark. Defensive end Ziggy Ansah injured his ankle against Dallas, and has not practiced this week. He has been in a walking boot, and the Lions signed a defensive end in Austen Lane as insurance. Cornerback Bill Bentley also injured himself in that game, banging up his knee, and he also has not practiced this week. Bentley hasn’t been all that good, but he provides much needed depth for the Lions’ secondary. Detroit may not be great in pass defense with Bentley, but they are certainly worse without him.
Both of Detroit’s starting safeties are also dealing with injuries right now. Of course, this is always the case with Louis Delmas. It is the typical story with him. He missed practice with a knee injury on Wednesday, but this is common, and he has played in every game this year. Glover Quin, meanwhile, is dealing with an ankle injury. However, he was able to practice on Wednesday, albeit in a limited fashion.
Detroit’s offense should be fine heading into this key divisional matchup on the road. The issue will be whether or not their defense is healthy enough to compete with Chicago’s potent offense. Even with Josh McCown under center, the Bears offense looked pretty good on the road against Green Bay. If they get Cutler back, they will be even better. Detroit’s starting safeties should play, while Ansah and Bentley are bigger question marks. Having them both will be important in stopping the Bears’ passing offense. The playoff push is on for the Lions.
- Wide receiver Calvin Johnson (knee)
- Defensive end Ziggy Ansah (ankle)
- Cornerback Bill Bentley (knee)
- Wide receiver Nate Burleson (forearm)
- Safety Louis Delmas (knee)
- Offensive tackle Corey Hilliard (knee)
- Safety Glover Quin (ankle)
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Chris Morgan has been a diehard Detroit Lions fan through the good (Barry Sanders) and the bad (Matt Millen) and that love has led him to take jobs writing about sports, including as a fantasy sports “expert.” His work can be found on Examiner.com. .