LAKE FOREST | You don't stand over a bonfire and pour gas on the flames.
You don't light a match to see if your gas tank is full.
But Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton did exactly that Wednesday, ripping the Detroit Lions, Sunday's opponent, for their dirty style of play.
"I don't like them," he said.
The Bears must first beat Detroit and then hope Green Bay knocks off Minnesota before they can claim the final wildcard playoff spot.
Melton's salvo could inspire a Lions team that lost 13-7 in Chicago on Oct. 22 and is going nowhere this postseason.
"We're gonna do our thing versus Detroit, but I don't want to say anything because I don't like Detroit," said a smiling Melton, who missed last week's Arizona game with a chest injury. "They're dirty. They've always been a dirty team since I've been here."
The feeling is mutual based on past dust-ups between the two NFC North rivals and, in particular, the roughhouse tactics employed by defensive end Ndamukong Suh on quarterbacks around the league.
"They're all gonna be looking for cheap shots and all that mess so we have to hold our composure and play our game," said Melton, who has six sacks and a career-high 41 tackles.
The Lions (4-11) have lost six straight and are allowing 27.4 points per game.
Quarterback Matt Stafford averages 46 pass attempts a game and Calvin Johnson needs 108 yards to become the first receiver in NFL history to reach 2,000.
Detroit is also among the league's most penalized teams with 915 yards compared to opponents' 754.
"They try to do all this extra stuff to get under your skin -- talking, cheap shots," Melton said. "If you look at the tapes, they've always done that. We had a brawl last year.
"We'll be ready."
Asked who the Lions' biggest talker is, Melton was quick to point the finger.
"(Center Dominic) Raiola. He's old," Melton said. "He's more cuss words than anything, bad cuss words, and then he'll throw in a cheap shot."
The Bears (9-6) have won eight of the last nine games with their Motown neighbors.
"They won't be playing again until next season so there's nothing they'd like more than to make us disappointed for the rest of the year," quarterback Jay Cutler said .
"But we can't complain. We put ourselves in this position. They played us tough the first time and we'll get their best shot this time."
Detroit lost three fumbles, including one at the Bears' six-inch line, but sacked Cutler five times in the first meeting.
Even so, Cutler has been impressive against the Lions at 6-2 with 11 touchdowns and one interception.
"We just have to have a sense of urgency on every play," he said. "This is a big game. Last week was a big game. We've just got to win.
"These are the games you've got to have."