Bears players are adamant that Sunday's contest in Detroit is not a "trap game," despite the Lions' 2-9 record.
Even though they're coming off a huge victory over the Eagles and host the 9-2 Patriots a week later, the 8-3 Bears say they will not be trapped into taking the Lions lightly. A glance at the tape of the last meeting, when they barely escaped with a 19-14 victory in the season opener when Calvin Johnson's apparent game-winning TD catch was ruled incomplete, should be motivation enough.
"We're not in position to have trap games," tight end Greg Olsen said. "We need to win every game. That's the mentality we have. This is a division rival on the road. We squeaked by and beat them [with] that call right at the end the first game. By no means are we looking past this."
In addition to their narrow defeat at Soldier Field, the Lions have lost to the 7-4 Eagles by three points, the 7-4 Packers by two points, the 7-4 Giants by eight points, the Bills by two points and the 9-2 Jets by three points in overtime.
Both of their victories have come at home at Ford Field, where they are the NFC's highest-scoring home team. In their five games in friendly confines, the Lions have rolled up 32 points on the Eagles, 44 on the Rams, 37 on the Redskins, 20 on the Jets and 24 on the Patriots.
"There are no trap games for us this year," linebacker Lance Briggs said. "Every week is another week for us to go out and improve. This is another opportunity to get ourselves a step closer to the playoffs and the championship."
Although the Bears are tied with the Saints for the second-best record in the NFC, one game behind the 9-2 Falcons, there are four teams just a game behind them at 7-4. The top seven teams are battling for five playoff spots.
But people will talk, knowing the Bears are on a four-game win streak and have won five straight in the Lions series and four of the last five at Ford Field.
"We try not to get into the 'people say' an awful lot," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "I don't see how you can have a trap game with a division opponent that supposedly should have beaten us the first time. We respect them. They're a good football team. Every week we play, it seems like the next game is bigger. It's no different this week. This is a huge game for us."
Even if the Bears were tempted to let their minds wander while preparing for a 2-9 team, Lions receiver Nate Burleson effectively got their attention by guaranteeing a victory on Wednesday.
"I would think you would guarantee a win every week," Briggs said. "It's good. It should fire them up. I know it definitely fires us up. I know we've got it pinned up everywhere in our meeting rooms. But I've been tricked into guaranteeing a win before]. I won't be tricked again."
That would have been the Colts game, Nov. 21, 2004, Smith's first year as coach. Final score: Colts 41, Bears 10.
"I'm not going to guarantee any more wins," Briggs said.
"That was a good game," linebacker Brian Urlacher said, stifling a laugh. "We were playing good at the time."
After a 1-5 start, the Bears were on a three-game win streak before the Colts fiasco. But, like Briggs, Urlacher said he understands Burleson's mindset.
"I know what he's saying," Urlacher said. "You fully expect to win every game, and if you don't believe that, why are you playing? I'm not sure you go out and say that, but I think we all believe that. It's just that some guys don't say it as much in public as some others do.
"I think we're going to win, but I'm not going to guarantee it."
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