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3 Lions things Bears are watching for in finale

Sam Acho talked about how Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba, said Harvard rejected him 10 times.

The lesson?

“Man, you have to have faith,” he said.

Then the Bears linebacker said a United employee told Acho they’re still working out the kinks five years after merging with Continental.

The takeaway?

“Culture change takes time,” Acho said.

That last push for momentum hits Sunday, when the Bears host the Lions in the finale. Here are three things they’re watching:

• An improved team. The Lions went 1-7 in the first half of the season — thank you, Bears — but are 5-2 in the second. The Packers were the only team they played in the second half that has a winning record today, though.

With both the Bears and Lions 6-9, the winner can claim third place in the NFC North, while the loser gets a better draft pick.

• Jim Bob power. The Lions’ offense seems more comfortable since the team promoted Jim Bob Cooter to offensive coordinator eight games ago. Since posting a 137.8 passer rating on Thanksgiving, Matthew Stafford has reached 102.1, 148.5 and 118.6.

• Megatron. Calvin Johnson hasn’t come close to replicating his six-catch, 166-yard showing Oct. 18 against the Bears. He hasn’t topped 100 yards since.

Still, Johnson should be focused in what has a chance to be his last game with the Lions. With uncertainty in the front office and a big cap number looming, it can’t be ruled out.

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley
Email: pfinley@suntimes.com