Time: 1:00 PM (ET)
Date: Sunday, January 3, 2009.
Location: Cleveland Browns Stadium.
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While the decision to have Lovie Smith return as head coach doesn't appear to have been made yet, there's no question that he'll hurt his status by losing to the woeful Lions in the final game of the season. If the Bears can't muster the effort required to handle the Lions, Smith's leadership will definitely come into question.
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz is taking an honest approach to this game, saying that nobody's likely to save his job with a great performance on Sunday. Schwartz already knows who can play and who can't.
More important will be the play of Detroit's defensive rookies, especially linebacker DeAndre Levy and safety Louis Delmas. Levy is going to be a starter next season, and he's going to replace either Larry Foote in the middle or Julian Peterson on the outside. While Levy could get his second start at MLB for the injured Foote, Delmas might need to come up with one more splash play to increase his consideration for defensive rookie of the year. Delmas has been an impact player on a poor defense and doesn't have the benefit of cherry-picking good plays around him. Almost everything he's done, he's done on his own.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of who plays quarterback, the Lions can't find a way to score with any consistency, and that's not going to change in the season's final week. The offensive line can't get it together, and the team doesn't have any weapons other than Johnson. The Bears have to play this smart and not take risks trying to win the game; all they have to do is stay out of the Lions' way and allow them to find a way to lose it. It might take a while, but Detroit will eventually self-destruct.
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