The NFL’s Thanksgiving triple-header gets started with an NFC North rivalry game between the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions. The Bears won an earlier meeting between these teams 24-14 and have won 10 of the last 13 head-to-head games overall. Chicago is also a three-point road favorite on Thursday, with an over/under of 41.5 points.
The Bears were painfully close to snapping their losing streak last week, only to give up a late touchdown to the Ravens, losing their fifth straight game. At 3-7, Chicago is all but out of chances to get things turned around, especially with games against the Cardinals and Packers on the horizon. Matt Nagy’s job could also be in jeopardy if the Bears can’t even beat the lowly Lions.
Speaking of the Lions, they can rest easy knowing that they won’t go 0-17 this year. Detroit pulled off a tie with the Steelers two weeks ago and had a chance to beat the Browns last week, only losing 13-10. Nevertheless, the Lions are heading toward the top pick in next year’s draft and could be at risk for a winless season if they don’t get a win on Thanksgiving.
Back in the Saddle
There is a chance that Detroit could get Jared Goff back from injury in time for Thursday’s game. Backup Tim Boyle played last week and threw two interceptions, with Detroit’s only touchdown of the game coming on a 57-yard run by D’Andre Swift. Swift has been a bright spot lately, rushing for 266 yards over the last two weeks despite the Lions failing to reach 20 points in a game since Week 1.
On the bright side, the Detroit defense has shown a little more fight lately, keeping both the Steelers and Browns to modest point totals in consecutive weeks. Of course, the Lions have still allowed the third-most points in the NFL this season, giving up 27.3 points per game. Also, the Lions continue to miss key players on the defensive line and in the secondary, so there’s no guarantee the Detroit defense can continue to show some fight.
With Justin Fields dealing with an injury, Andy Dalton is likely to get the start on Thanksgiving after finishing last week’s game against the Ravens. Dalton had a decent game in relief last week, only completing 11 of his 23 passes but tossing two touchdown passes. David Montgomery’s return has given the Chicago backfield a slight boost over the last two weeks, although they will miss the mobility that Fields brings to the table.
With their backup quarterback playing, the Bears will likely need a strong effort from their defense. They benefited from playing the Ravens without Lamar Jackson last week but have allowed an average of 28 points per game during their five-game losing skid. Also, Khalil Mack has been placed on IR, depriving the Bears of one of their best difference-makers on that side of the ball.
The Lions are weirdly trending in the right direction and might get Goff back just as Swift and the running game are starting to take off. Meanwhile, the Bears have to rely on Dalton, who lacks the improvisational skills that Fields brings to the table. With Detroit hungry for a win, bet on the Lions to finally get that win on Thanksgiving.