The 7-3 Chicago Bears will travel to Detroit to take on the 4-6 Lions in the first of 3 Thanksgiving games on Thursday. This is a NFC North matchup between the first place Bears and the last place Lions. Both teams are coming off important wins last week against good teams. The Lions ended a 3 game losing streak with a 20-19 road victory over the Caroline Panthers. The Panthers scored a touchdown with 1 minute remaining but opted to go for 2 rather than kick a game tying extra point. They failed in their attempt and Lions were able to take a knee. Chicago extended its lead in the division with a 25-20 home victory over the Minnesota Vikings. This extended their winning streak to 4 games but linebacker Aaron Lynch suffered a concussion and is not likely to play against the lions.
Matthew Stafford had a decent game against the Panthers finishing with a passer rating of 87.7. He completed 23 of 37 passes for 220 yards, 1 touchdown and 0 interceptions. His favorite target was Kenny Golladay who had 8 catches for 113 yards and the team’s only touchdown reception. Kerryon Johnson led the run game with 87 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. For the year the Lions offense has averaged 22.2 points and 362 yards per game. Defensively, they allowed the Panthers to gain over 400 yards but did intercept Cam Newton once and sacked him 3 times. They also did a good job at stopping the run as the Panthers had just 56 yards on 16 carries. If there was a negative for Lions defense it is that 4 different Carolina receivers had catches that gained at least 20 yards.
The Bears defense propelled them in the win over the Vikings. They forced 3 turnovers as they intercepted Kirk Cousins twice and recovered a fumble. They absolutely shut the run game down as Minnesota averaged just 1.6 yards per rush gaining 22 yards on 14 carries. Khalil Mack had a nice game with a sack, 2 tackles for losses and a fumble recovery. On the season, the Bears defense has allowed their opponents to average 19.5 points and 334 yards per game. Offensively, Mitchell Trubisky finished with a quarterback rating of 62 as he threw for just 165 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. His favorite target was Taylor Gabriel who had 7 catches for 52 yards. They did have success running the ball as they gained 148 yards on 39 carries.
Detroit will have home field advantage and will be 4-point underdogs. They have gone 6-4 against the spread this season including 3-2 at home. The Bears are 7-3 against the spread including 2-2 on the road. They enter this game with the momentum as they are riding a 4 game win streak. For Detroit, Johnson suffered a knee injury in the third quarter last week and didn’t return. With the short week, he has yet to be cleared to play and his absence will be a big loss for the Lions offense.