By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Most of what makes Sunday’s game between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears so important is simply the race to take charge of the NFC North.
The last meeting between the teams, when the Lions emerged victorious, 40-32, after a late rally by the Bears, turned out to be a thriller, and Detroit players say that Sunday’s clash on Soldier Field will be even more riveting.
“I’d say it’s probably more intense just for the fact of – especially for the division lead and everything,” rookie defensive end Devin Taylor said. “It’s not so much a lot of pressure, but it’s like we really need this win anyways just for us for a team as well.”
Another aspect of the game, though, is the rivalry. The teams do not like each other. That much is clear. What might have stirred the pot even more, though, linebacker Ashlee Palmer suggested, was that the Lions built a three-score cushion in the last contest, taking a 40-16 lead in the fourth quarter.
“After the first meeting, I guess they felt we tried to embarrass them – I’m not sure,” Palmer said. “We had them 40-16, and late in the game, that’s when they got all their points. This is big. NFC North, three-way tie, it can go any way now, so this is probably one of the biggest games we’re going to play the rest of the half of the season.”
Hang on. Running up the score in the NFL? Really? Continuing to put the ball in the end zone can be taken personally?
“Yeah, I don’t know,” Palmer said. “That’s just me talking. We were up 40-16, so if you’re playing a video game, Madden, and you win 40-16, you’re trying to embarrass somebody. Like I said, they made their run late, they came back, game ended up 40-32,
“But like I said,” Palmer added, “it’s bad blood. Period.”
The Lions have not gotten a win at Soldier Field since 2007, back when five-year NFL veteran Palmer was still playing college ball at Mississippi. Accordingly, he has never experienced a win in Chicago. He just knows the atmosphere on the Bears’ home field will be as disdainful as always.
“They don’t like us,” Palmer said. “We know that. So they’re going to be nasty. They’re going to anti-Lions. It’s going to be a good game. It’s going to be a real good game.”
“The NFC North is by far one of the best divisions in the NFL – best and toughest,” Palmer added. “It’s going to be an interesting show Sunday.”