Chicago Bears 13, Detroit Lions 7
Watching the Bears' defensive unit reminds me of why I fear them so much every time I face them. In this game Chicago had three sacks, three forced fumbles, two turnovers on muffed punts, one interception and a near shutout thwarted by a last minute touchdown. If your league scoring is anything like mine, the Bears and Houston Texans are absolutely dominating the rankings, and it ain't even close.
Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte are studs, that much we already knew. The other player of note on Chicago's side of the ball is Jay Cutler. Playing opposite a dominant defense, while averaging 226 yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game, Cutler is a low-end bye week replacement, at best.
It's never good when the only news worth reporting is bad news. The Lions' first six possessions resulted in three 3-and-outs along with three turnovers, all in the red zone. That will always kill the fantasy value of a team. That's what the Lions managed to pull off.
Allow me to play the role of Captain Obvious and state that Matthew Stafford is not the same player he was a year ago. I'm no quarterback guru, but even I recognize his poor mechanics, falling backwards, looking more and more like Blaine Gabbert, than Peyton Manning. This typically occurs when a player is scared of injury, of which Stafford has a well-documented history. It doesn't get any easier with the third-ranked Seattle pass defense coming to town. Tough to sit, tough to start.
Mikel Leshoure had a decent outing with 83 total yards. The bad news came as Leshoure fumbled in the red zone along with the continued use of Joique Bell. Both backs are seeing plenty of playing time, including Bell taking goal line looks. Leshoure may have starter consideration against the lower-ranked Jaguars rush defenses in week 9.
We also witnessed Nate Burleson leaving the game with a broken leg. His absence opened the door for Titus Young, who finished this matchup with six receptions for 81 yards. With Burleson now done for the season, and Calvin Johnson getting double coverage all game, Young will be asked to step up. Should Young be available, he is certainly worth adding as a lower WR4 on the rise. Just beware that Young also has injury issues, including a recent knee problem.
Regarding Johnson's struggles, dare I say, 'Madden Curse?'
"What sucks more than losing? Nothing!" - Justin Tuck