Lovie Smith is 8-4 against the Lions as a head coach. The past two seasons the Bears have swept the season series against the Lions. Last season they beat them 48-24 at Solider Field in week four and 37-23 at Solider Field in Week 17.
Both teams look drastically different. The Bears brought safety Chris Harris back and added Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers to provide a solid pass rush alongside Tommie Harris and Mark Anderson. The Bears also added a few weapons on offense in veteran RB Chester Taylor and veteran blocking tight end Brandon Manumaleuna.
The Lions have revamped a lot of positions. They added RB Jahvid Best in the draft, acquired TE Tony Scheffler from Denver and WR Nate Burelson in free agency. They added Kyle Vanden Bosch through free agency, SS C.C. Brown through free agency and DT Ndamukong Suh in the draft.
The Lions team will be much better than the 2-14 record they earned last season. This game should be closer than people expect, but if the Bears can contain WR Calvin Johnson and protect Jay Cutler from Vanden Bosch and Suh they should be able to win by a good amount.
Players Who Must Step Up:
1) Greg Olsen- He was involved in trade talks all off-season, experts said Mike Martz’s offense doesn’t utilize the tight end, but Olsen has a good relationship with Jay Cutler and he is a very fast tight end. Look for Olsen to have a big day on Sunday.
Prediction: Seven catches, 65 yards, and one touchdown.
2) Tommie Harris- This was the first off-season that I remember that Harris didn’t have some kind of surgery. He looked like he returned to form in preseason and with Julius Peppers on the line with him that could open Harris up for more pressure on the QB. Expect a solid day from Harris, the defensive as a unit needs and Harris needs for himself.
Prediction: Five tackles, two sacks.
3) Charles Tillman- Now the starting left cornerback, Tillman will cover WR Nate Burelson and probably should have a good day on defense. Look for Tillman to strip balls away from Detroit and reel in some interceptions.
Prediction: Six tackles, one interception and one forced fumble.
Who Will Win?
Prediction: Bears 27, Lions 14.
Weather: It should be a nice and sunny day at Solider Field, temperatures in the low 70′s. It will get hot very fast at Soldier Field and that’s why the Bears chose to wear the white jerseys instead of the navy in their home opener.