Pro Football Weekly’s Bears vs. Lions predictions
The PFW Chicago staff predictions for Bears against Lions on Thursday at Ford Field:
If you are a Bears fan and you’re worried about the Bears’ Thanksgiving day game at Detroit, you have good cause to be. Not really because of the Bears so much as I’ve been in Detroit on Thanksgiving 12 of the past 13 seasons, and I have to tell you the Lions are a different team at home on Thanksgiving.
Now the Lions are coming off an impressive win Sunday over the 6-4 Panthers and should have a pretty good idea of how they were partially successful at Soldier Field a week ago Sunday, putting up 22 on the Bears, including 15 in the second half.
After what we saw Sunday night against the Vikings, I think there’s a really good chance the Bears are too good at this point to lose this one to the Lions, and I’m not seeing any signs with as much fun as these young Bears are having that they’re likely to not show up, even with Chase Daniel getting the call in place of an injured Mitch Trubisky.
The Bears’ offense will score on the Lions, but I could see this one being a little sloppy with both teams on the short week. The Bears might need a quarter or two to get refocused coming off the huge Vikings game, which could let the Lions hang around.
Bears 31, Lions 27
No one could blame the Bears for having a letdown 12 days after they easily handled the Lions at home 34-22 and four days after an emotional, 25-20 victory over the Vikings at night, on national TV. That win solidified their hold on first place in the NFC North. The Bears have the momentum of a four-game win streak, their longest in more than six years, and they have scored less than 23 points just once all season, and that was back in a Week Three victory over the Cardinals.
The Lions snapped a three-game losing streak with an improbable 20-19 victory over the Panthers, who unsuccessfully went for a two-point conversion and the win in regulation after scoring a TD with 1:07 remaining. The Bears had lost nine of 10 to the Lions before their Week 10 victory, and they haven’t defeated the Lions at Ford Field since the 2012 season finale.
If the Lions are without RB Kerryon Johnson (as expected) and WR Marvin Jones, they’ll have a tough time moving the ball. Bears QB Mitch Trubisky is doubtful with a shoulder injury, opening the door for Chase Daniel to make his first start in four seasons.
Bears 20, Lions 17
I was tempted to take the Lions — until Sunday’s knee injury to Kerryon Johnson, making it likely the sensational rookie back will join leading receiver Marvin Jones on the sideline on Thanksgiving.
Even if Johnson and/or Jones were to play, the fact is Detroit swept this series in four of the previous five seasons, and I wasn’t as impressed by any of those clubs as I am by this Bears squad. Perhaps, then, the old adage about how tough it is to beat a familiar foe twice in a season is a bit of a myth; it’s certainly no reason to predict an upset here.
Detroit is at home, where it played better defensively vs. Carolina, yet still ceded nearly 400 yards of offense and couldn’t stop the Panthers late (they stopped themselves). Matt Nagy can feature Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton, the pair that took a backseat to Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller the first time vs. Detroit, to keep Matt Patricia from honing in on any tendencies.
The Bears’ defense easily will be the best unit on the field Thursday, when mistakes will be magnified, and no one forces more of them than Chicago. And unlike the Lions, Nagy’s club has proven it’s ready for the spotlight — and that won’t change with Chase Daniel, not Mitch Trubisky, behind center.
Bears 27, Lions 21
In his final words after Sunday’s big win over the Vikings, Bears head coach Matt Nagy called the Thanksgiving matchup against the Lions “an 84-hour test,” and he’s got a good point. Nagy had just indicated that TE Adam Shaheen and LB Aaron Lynch were both in the concussion protocol, and it’s going to be a very quick turnaround for the Bears, who might be thin at a few spots and possibly starting their backup QB Chase Daniel for Thursday’s game.
But the Lions also could be without RB Kerryon Johnson, who left Detroit’s Week 11 game with a knee injury. That team is not very revealing with injury information, so it appears to be a gametime wait-and-see deal on that front, as well as with WR Marvin Jones and DT A’Shawn Robinson.
The Bears should win. However, style points might not be overflowing for the early game. We could see turnovers and penalties being a factor in this game, maybe a coverage lapse or a missed tackle or block. A young team such as this Bears club — impressive as it has been to this point — might not be able to waltz into Detroit and smash a team they beat handily 11 days earlier.
The theme for the game? Ugly but effective.
Lions 21, Bears 17