Bears vs Cardinals: Chicago Can Learn from Lions' Mistakes, Avoid the Same Fate

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 16: Head coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears stands on the sidelines during a game against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on December 16, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Packers defeated the Bears 21-13.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears sit on the edge of playoff elimination and cannot find themselves in the position Detroit did last week, which is on the wrong end of the win-loss ratio.

On the other hand, the implosion of the Lions should provide a few lessons which the Bears can use so that history isn't repeated.

Arizona will come into this game pumped after taking the Lions down, but the Bears have a ton to play for and are very determined to finish the season strong. If they can stomach a look at the Detroit game against Arizona, Chicago can see what went wrong and avoid the same fate.

Get at Ryan Lindley

Lindley isn't good. Let's just reaffirm that in case you thought otherwise.

The Cardinals' offensive line is also bad. The Lions couldn't overcome them and in fact, were largely manhandled by them, especially in short yardage.

It's still stunning that the Lions had all of one sack against this line.

Despite not having Urlacher, this team should more than have the personnel needed to overcome a line which has more than a few parts who would be third string elsewhere.

Pressure Lindley, you'll get a turnover or two. Or four.

That should be well within the realm of possibility.

Which makes the next item a lot more simple.

Shut Down Larry Fitzgerald

This is easier these days than it should be, and it's all Lindley's fault. Well, maybe not all his fault, as the coaching staff, general manager and ownership certainly share a huge portion of the blame for the debacle that is the quarterback position.

However you look at it, one thing is clear: Larry Fitzgerald is not at fault. He's seeing enough targets but most of them aren't quality throws. He hasn't had more than four catches since Week 8, no touchdowns since Week 9 and has only one 100-yard game this year.

Amazing isn't it?

There are some other weapons here, such as Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd, but none can come close and all are suffering from a Lindley-induced hangover.

So the Bears can take Charles Tillman and glue him to Fitzgerald, eliminating him for the entire game.

Shut down Fitz and that will be more than enough to shut down this offense.

Limit Mistakes

A lot of the damage done to the Lions was self-inflicted, as I wrote about early this week. 

Bad interceptions, bad special teams mistakes and bad defense all contributed to the loss to some extent.

Now, it's unlikely that the special teams unit the Bears have will have one guy run into the other on a punt and cause a turnover on their own five.

However, Jay Cutler has a tendency to force a ball where it shouldn't go and this is a very good Arizona defense, 50 spots recently dropped on it notwithstanding. Especially Patrick Peterson, on Brandon Marshall or not.

However, while Peterson is always a threat to generate an interception, last week saw two other Cardinals score interceptions—Rashad Johnson and Greg Toler.

There is more danger here than just Peterson.

Cutler will have to be careful with the ball.

It's not all on Cutler though, the entire team needs to be on point with ball protection, especially in their own end.

Arizona took advantage of their turnovers, especially the short yardage ones.

The Bears cannot turn the ball over and allow the Cardinals—even the sad sack Cardinals—a chance to get in the game.

The outcome should be a positive one for the Bears, who still need a little help to get into the playoffs, even if they win out. That said, there are a few pitfalls they can find themselves in if they take this game too lightly.

If they want to get into the playoffs and try to make a Super Bowl run, they need to win these next two games.

Really, there isn't a team in the NFL you can take lightly when you're in that spot.

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Follow me on Twitter at @andrew_garda.


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