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What to Watch 4: Bears need Jeffery to deliver

KEY MATCHUP

If Brian Hoyer starts for Jay Cutler, as expected, the Bears will need wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to overcome knee and hamstring issues and give Hoyer a dependable downfield target. Jeffery had eight catches for 147 yards and a touchdown in his only game against cornerback Darius Slay and the Lions last season.

“They’re a pretty good secondary,” Jeffery said. “They’re a feisty group. They like to play a little physical — press, bump-and-run at the line. We’re up for the challenge.”

TRENDING

Cowboys linebacker Justin Durant gives chase as Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery gains yardage Sept. 25 in Arlington, Texas. | LM Otero/AP

The Bears have lost 11 of their last 12 home games, including a 29-14 loss to the Eagles at Soldier Field on Sept. 19. It’s a little strange in that the Bears are 6-7 (.462) on the road during that run — including 5-3 last season. Most teams in that kind of rut at home are nearly as bad on the road.

The last time the Bears lost 11 of 12 home games was in 1972-73 — before beating the Lions 17-9 at Soldier Field in the 1974 opener.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Rookie linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski started in place of Danny Trevathan against the Cowboys. He had one tackle in 18 snaps but figures to get another shot Sunday against the Lions.

“Definitely making progress, but a long way to go,” said Kwiatkoski, a fourth-round draft pick from West Virginia, who was inactive for the first two games. “There are definitely a lot of things I can take from that game and build off of. Just little things — getting my eyes right, keys, eliminating false steps. That’s probably the biggest thing I’m trying to work on right now. There are a lot of little things I feel myself improving on.”

CALVIN WHO?

Nobody can replace retired Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, but former Bengal Marvin Jones is doing a pretty good job so far. Jones has 18 receptions for an NFL-leading 408 yards (22.7 average) and two touchdowns. That’s the most receiving yards in the first three games of a season in Lions history — Johnson’s best was 369 in 2012.

Jones had six receptions for 205 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers last week.

“[Jones] is a special player,” Lions wide receiver Golden Tate said. “He has a lot of range. He has speed. He’s got yards after the catch — which is what I’ve noticed early this year the most. He definitely helps us win.”