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Bears-Lions matchup of the day: Saturday

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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 RB Matt Forté vs. Lions defense

Forté, coming off a career-high 205 yards rushing vs. the Panthers, has fared well against the Lions.

He has gained 100 yards from scrimmage or more in five of his six career games against Detroit and, while Mike Martz doesn't always stick to the script, the Bears' goal is to get Forté at least 20 touches Monday night. The Lions rank 20th vs. the run this season and are allowing 4.8 yards per carry, so backs have had room to run against them.

With the Bears' passing game struggling — it's ranked 25th and the offensive line has allowed the second-most sacks in the league (15) — the Lions could dare QB Jay Cutler to beat them, put eight defenders in the box and take their chances that Cutler will make a mistake. Chicago's offensive line beat up on Carolina's defense, which starts two rookie defensive tackles and has been weakened by injuries at linebacker, but one week earlier, vs. Green Bay, the Bears couldn't get anything going in the running game. Forté gained only two yards on nine carries in the loss, and Detroit has a front four, led by DT Ndamukong Suh, that could dominate.

The Lions also will have to be mindful of Forté on check-downs. He has more than twice as many catches (26) as Johnny Knox, who is second to Forté in receptions with 12. Chicago could try to take advantage of a defensive line that is very aggressive by using screen passes to get the ball to Forté in space with blocks set up in front of him.

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