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Bears-Lions matchup of the day: Wednesday

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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By Dan Parr

Here's a look at a key matchup heading into Monday night's battle between the Bears and Lions.

Bears DE Julius Peppers vs. Lions OLT Jeff Backus

The Bears' defense is far less effective when Peppers is kept at bay. The secondary gets picked apart when the defensive line struggles to generate pressure, and Lions QB Matthew Stafford, who wasn't sacked in 43 dropbacks against the Cowboys last week, will make a defense pay when he has time to throw.

Peppers is a freakish athlete, but he has been credited with one QB hit over the past three games. The Bears need more from him, and he could deliver against Detroit.

Backus is slow-footed and often struggles when matched up against some of the league's best rushers off the edge, which Peppers certainly is. Vikings DE Jared Allen beat Backus repeatedly in Week Three, sacking Stafford three times, and Peppers' rare combination of speed, power, size and agility is going to give Backus problems.

There's no doubt the Lions remember Week One of last season, when Peppers sacked Stafford late in the first half, knocking him out of the game with a shoulder injury that kept Stafford out until Week Eight.

Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan likely will have Stafford make quick, three-step drops to help counter Peppers' quickness off the edge if the pressure starts to become an issue. It will be incumbent upon the Bears' defenders to make good tackles to keep short passes from becoming long gains.

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