As usual, the Detroit Lions get the Thanksgiving Day festivities underway. This year, Turkey Day starts out with an NFC North rivalry game between the Lions and the Chicago Bears. Kickoff is at 12:30 EST on Thursday, November 28 at Ford Field, in Detroit. The game will be broadcast nationally on Fox.
Early betting odds have the Bears as 1-point favorites on the road. The over/under for the game is set at 39 points. Click here to get a full list of the Week 13 NFL betting odds.
The Bears are barely hanging onto slim playoff hopes at the moment. Chicago has managed to snap out of a four-game losing streak and win two of their last three games, including a win over the Lions a few weeks ago. But at 5-6, the Bears are still three games out of a Wild Card spot with just five games left in the season.
The silver lining is that they’ll likely need to overtake the Packers or Vikings to get a playoff spot, and Chicago still has a chance to face both teams head-to-head. Of course, that also means the Bears face a difficult schedule down the stretch, including a home game with the Chiefs sandwiched between road games with Green Bay and Minnesota. As it stands, they’re barely alive, and a loss on Thursday would surely take away all hope.
Detroit, on the other hand, is all but finished in 2019. The Lions suffered a crushing loss to the Redskins on Sunday. That loss has all but taken them out of the playoff picture. They’ve now lost four games in a row and seven of their last eight games to take them to 3-7-1 on the season.
In fairness, the Lions have collapsed the second half of the season without Matthew Stafford at quarterback. It’s looking less and less likely that Stafford will be able to return from his back injury before the end of the season. At this point, there’s little reason for him to even try to return. Of course, with or without Stafford, head coach Matt Patricia could be coaching to keep his job over the final five games of the season.
Even if the Lions are playing for a playoff spot, they can surely take some satisfaction in helping knock out the rival Bears. After losing to Chicago 20-13 earlier this month, the Lions have now lost three in a row to the Bears after getting swept in the season series last year. On the bright side, the Lions have held serve at home against Chicago in five of the last six years.
The Bears aren’t particularly good, but they’ve proven in recent weeks that they can beat bad teams. If nothing else, I know that Chicago is capable of winning ugly games. With the spread at a single point, this figures to be an ugly game, so I’ll take my chances on the Bears.
With Stafford still out, it’ll once again be Jeff Driskel at quarterback for Detroit. Driskel showed a few positives when he faced the Bears a few weeks ago. However, things got ugly against the Washington defense over the weekend. He threw three interceptions and was sacked six times by the lowly Redskins. Surely, Driskel’s inexperience has led to him being sacked 11 times in three games after Stafford took just 18 sacks over Detroit’s first eight games of the season.
I don’t see things getting much better for Driskel against a Chicago defense that saw him a few weeks ago. As ugly as things have been for the Bears this year, they’ve held four of their last five opponents to 17 points or less. They have the players, most notably Khalil Mack, who can put pressure on Driskel and continue to make life difficult for him. The one X-factor the Lions have is running back Bo Scarbrough, who didn’t face Chicago a few weeks ago and has been productive the past two games. Of course, Scarbrough also lost a fumble last week, so it’s not just Driskel who the Lions have to worry about when it comes to turnovers.
To be fair, the Bears are unlikely to run away with this game with Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback. The good news for Trubisky is that he played last week after dealing with a hip problem in the previous game. The bad news is that he was the same old Trubisky, throwing two picks. The Bears still aren’t getting much out of David Montgomery and the running game, so the pressure continues to be on Trubisky’s shoulders. On the other hand, the Lions are giving up over 26 points per game on the season and allowed Dwayne Haskins to look halfway decent last week. Plus, Trubisky actually had one of his better performances this year when he faced the Detroit defense.
Admittedly, it’s a little tough to trust the Bears, especially on the road. But there’s no doubt that Chicago has the better defense in this game, and they may even have the better quarterback. That’s just barely enough to convince me to take them as 1-point road favorites over the struggling Lions.