It’s a very quick turnaround, but here we go again. We preview the Bears vs Lions Week 12 Thanksgiving matchup with SideLion Report.
The confetti has barely been swept up after Sunday’s night’s win over the Minnesota Vikings, but the Bears are prepping to suit up again for a Thanksgiving rematch with the Detroit Lions. When these two last squared off, just over a week ago, the Bears thoroughly dominated the Lions 34-22 in a game where the score wasn’t really indicative of the performance. Everything is different this week.
First off, the Lions get to host on Thanksgiving, a situation they’re all too familiar with. They always seem to play better on Turkey Day. Second, the Lions are actually decent at home, posting wins over the Patriots, Packers, and Panthers at Ford Field this season.
But perhaps the biggest reason why this game will be different than the one just ten days ago is the health of Bears signal-caller Mitch Trubisky, who suffered a right shoulder injury late in Sunday night’s 25-20 win over the Vikings.
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If Trubisky can’t go, it’s Chase Daniel time for the Bears. Daniel has exactly two career starts from his days in Kansas City, both Week 17 mop-up jobs when the Chiefs had already locked their playoff position. He’s thrown fewer passes in his career than Jared Goff and Patrick Mahomes combined to throw in Monday night’s epic 54-51 slugfest in Los Angeles.
To help us get prepped for our Thanksgiving appetizer, we’ve enlisted the help of our friend Steven Mullenax of SideLion Report to answer our questions and give us a little more insight on the Lions view for this game.
1. The Lions play every year on Thanksgiving. Do they have an advantage in having the annual tradition? How can they use that advantage to beat the Bears?
I don’t see it as an advantage as the short week can really disrupt the rhythm of a team. It’s certainly an honor, and if you are on one of the teams who are slated to play every Thanksgiving, you realize it’s simply a part of the job. But as far as it being an advantage, the start of Thursday night football has made it easier for every team to adjust to the shorter turnaround.
2. What’s been your impression of Matt Patricia so far? Did the Lions make the right choice at head coach?
SM: I think we are seeing a first-time head coach still struggling to find himself past a very long stint under Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. Changing the culture in Detroit was always going to be a monumental task. But one that should have been slightly easier based on the fact the team had success under previous head coach Jim Caldwell.
The transition has likely been rockier than the Lions hoped for and I’m not sure everyone has bought into his hard-nosed approach. Obviously, winning is what cures all of that. Detroit will give Patricia a long leash to prove himself.
3. The Bears handled the Lions pretty easily a week or so ago. What changes on Thursday that might change the outcome?
SM: It’s hard to believe we are going to see much difference after two weeks. If you are Detroit, the hope is the Thanksgiving atmosphere combined with playing in Ford Field and having even more game film to study makes some sort of positive impact. The Lions hired Matt Patricia, the mad genius, for moments like this. Perhaps he’ll be able to pull something out of his backward hat scheme-wise to make a difference.
4. Who is one Lions player on each side of the ball that you’re most thankful for?
SM: After the Lions’ big win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, I think you’d have to go with wide receiver Kenny Golladay on offense. Without starting wide receivers Golden Tate (traded) or Marvin Jones Jr. (injury), Golladay was able to emerge as the team’s legitimate number one receiver, making a touchdown catch late in the game to seal the win.
Defensively, linebacker Devon Kennard was signed as a free agent in the offseason and now leads the team with 6.0 sacks. He’s been able to come in and instantly become a vital part of this defense.
5. What’s your prediction for the game on Thursday? Please include a brief summary and a final score.
SM: I’m not sure there is much hope for Lions’ fans in this matchup. It appears they’ll be taking the field without their talented rookie running back in Kerryon Johnson (knee), which is a big blow to their offense. Although I do expect better play from the Detroit’s defense with Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay back for this rematch, I’m not sure it will be enough to overcome what we witnessed just two weeks ago.
Chicago Bears 27, Detroit Lions 23
We’d like to thank Steve Mullenax for giving us a good look at the Lions. You can check out our his Q&A with Bear Goggles On as well.