by Bryan Dietzler
The Chicago Bears, fresh off a 19-14 victory over the New York Giants will take on the 3-7-1 Detroit Lions this Thursday in Detroit. It’s the annual Thanksgiving game and this year the Bears are invited to attempt to take down the Lions on turkey day.
The biggest question is, can they do it?
The Bears are looking a little bit better but there is still a lot of work to be done. Mistakes are still being made and things are still not quite where they should be. But the team has something that it can build upon after their win against the Giants.
They face a Lions’ team that is coming off of a last-second loss to the Washington Redskins. Detroit will be hungry for a win and will be at home which could spell trouble for the Bears. And with the short week of preparation for this game, you can bet that the team that does the best with these next few days will play the best on Thursday.
Will that be the Bears?
Let’s take a quick look at some of the stats behind this game and see how these teams stack up.
After Sunday’s game, the Bears offense is ranked 28th in points with 17.1 per game. The Lions defense is allowing teams to score 26.5 points per game which is 25th in the league at this time. Chicago’s offense is gaining 269.3 yards per contest overall while the Lions are holding teams to 396.2 yards per game. The Bears rank 29th in yards per game while the Lions rank 29th in yards allowed.
Looking at these numbers, you can see the Bears’ futility in trying to gain yards on offense Perhaps their performance on Sunday, against the Giants, will be a stepping stone to being able to gain more yards and win more games. We can only hope.
Passing the ball has become a struggle for the Bears this season. A mix of different factors has attributed to this. The offense has taken a step back, as a whole and it starts at the top with head coach Matt Nagy. The play calling has suffered and with that, so has the rest of the team.
The Bears are gaining 190.7 yards per game through the air which is 30th. Lucky for them, they face the 30th ranked pass defense as Detroit is allowing 275.5 yards per game.
The rushing attack has been anemic at best for the Bears this season. They are 29th rushing for 78.5 yards per game. The Lions defense could be just what the doctor ordered for the Bears’ rushing attack because they are allowing 120.7 yards per game which has got them ranked 24th in the league. The Bears need to run the ball in this one and control the ball and the clock. If they can do that they will win this game.
Flipping things over to the side of the defense, we see that the Bears remain one of the top defenses in the NFL. When it comes to points, the Bears are allowing teams to score just 17.1 points per game. That gives the Bears the NFL’s fourth-ranked scoring defense. The Lions are 12th in the NFL scoring 23.6 points per game. The Lions are gaining an average of 378.5 yards per game which puts them at 9th in the league. The Bears are holding teams to 315.6 yards per game which is 4th.
Something has got to give and hopefully, it’s not the Bears’ defense. Playing on such a short week could give them some problems but we can only hope that the defense will rise to the occasion and play well enough to let the Bears win.
The Bears passing defense has struggled sometimes in critical situations but is still one of the best in the league. They are allowing teams to pass for an average of 218.8 yards per game which is 9th. The Lions, mostly with the now sidelined Matthew Stafford, are gaining 272.8 yards per game through the air. That’s sixth in the NFL.
As long as the Bears can eliminate the big plays for the Detroit offense and not allow them to stay close, Chicago should win this game.
Finally, when it comes to stopping the run, the Bears defense is stout allowing just 96.8 rushing yards per game. That’s good for 8th in the league. The Lions are about middle of the pack when rushing averaging 105.6 yards per game. That’s good for 18th in the NFL.
Let’s see if the Bears can shut down the Lions’ offense in the short week and get a win. It would certainly help their psyche if they could do that.
So, who will win?
The following are the players listed on the injury report for the Bears and the Lions heading into the middle of the week.
Taylor Gabriel-WR-Concussion-He didn’t practice and may not make the game this Thursday.
Ben Braunecker-TE-Concussion-He didn’t practice and may not make the game this Thursday.
Bobby Massie-OT-Ankle-He did not practice and will not play in the game this Thursday.
Sherrick McMannis-CB-Groin-McMannis did not practice and may not play Thursday.
Adam Shaheen-TE-Foot-Shaheen didn’t practice and will probably not play against Detroit.
Danny Trevathan-LB-Elbow-It’s unlikely Trevathan will play in this game.
Jamal Agnew-CB-Ankle-Agnew didn’t practice and will probably be out for this game.
Trey Flowers-DE-Concussion-Did not practice.
Marvin Hall-WR-Foot-Did not practice and could be out for Thursday’s game.
Rashaan Melvin-CB-Ribs-He did not practice.
Matthew Stafford-QB-Hip/Back-He has not practiced and will not play in this game.
Jeff Driskel-QB-Hamstring-Was limited in practice and his status is up in the air.
Da’Shawn Hand-DL-Ankle-Hand was limited in practice but may play Thursday.
Damon Harrison, Sr.-DT-Knee-Harrison was limited in practice.
I look for this to be the typical “close game” that the Bears usually play. I think that they will have a little bit of a hangover from Sunday but I think that they will be better prepared for this game than the Lions will. It looks like it’s going to be another close one but the Bears should be able to pull this one out and win.