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Bears vs. Lions Thanksgiving Game Preview and How To Watch, odds, and more!

Which is the bigger turkey: The game or the one on your dining room table?

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NFL: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

With a Thursday game, we’re combining Sam’s official “Game Preview” with our “How To Watch” this week!

The Bears have a chance to win two in a row for the first time since week 2-4 when they won three straight over Denver, Washington and Minnesota.

However, it won’t be easy, since it is on a short week and Thanksgiving Day games haven’t always been kind to Chicago.

But Detroit will be without its starting quarterback and perhaps their back up too? That remains to be seen.

Mostly the thing standing in Chicago’s way is themselves, that is, this team can’t seem to get out of its own way and help itself out. Every score is laborious and arduous. It all is very ugly and very bad.

I feel bad for football fans not in Chicago and Detroit that just want to watch a game, because this one is not going to be good.

Detroit Lions

SB Nation site: Pride of Detroit

Game day/time/TV: Thursday, November 28, 11:30 a.m. CT, FOX, from Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, and weather will not be a factor as they play in a dome.

Record: 3-7-1 (Fourth in NFC North)

Last week: 19-16 loss to Washington

Bears all-time record against: 100-74-5

Last meeting: Just two and a half weeks ago the Bears hosted Detroit at Soldier Field, where they won 20-13. Mitchell Trubisky threw three touchdowns and Jeff Driskel led a late touchdown drive to make it a one score game.

Historical match up: On Thanksgiving Day 1977, the 5-5 Bears met the 5-5 Lions.

Walter Payton rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown and also had 107 yards receiving and another touchdown. The defense sacked Lions quarterbacks Greg Landry and Gary Danielson five times total and the Bears cruised to a 31-14 win.

Injury report: The Lions listed 13 players on their injury report Tuesday (remember on a short week they aren’t really practicing, this is based on what would’ve happened had they practiced.

Did not participate: CB Jamal Agnew (ankle), WR Marvin Hall (foot), RB Rashaan Melvin (ribs), QB Matt Stafford (hip/back)

Limited participation: QB Jeff Driskel (hamstring), DE Trey Flowers (concussion), DL Da’Shawn Hand (ankle), DT Damon Harrison (knee), TE T.J. Hockenson (shoulder), P Sam Martin (abdomen), DB Tracy Walker (knee)

Full participation: OL Frank Ragnow (concussion), G Kenny Wiggins (knee)

Offense: Coming in the Lions rank 11th in points and ninth in yards as an offense.

Their passing offense is sixth in yards and their rushing offense is 18th.

Without Stafford, Jeff Driskel (59 pct. cmp./685 yds./4 TD/4 INT) has taken over, but he’s been limited with hamstring injury. If he can’t go they will turn to David Blough, an undrafted rookie.

The main weapons for the Lions are receivers Marvin Jones (56 rec./701 yds./8 TD) and Kenny Golladay (43/792/8). The veteran Danny Amendola (42/473/1) and rookie TE T.J. Hockenson (26/349/2).

Due to injuries, the Lions have had to turn to RBs Bo Scarbrough (32 att./153 yds./1 TD), Ty Johnson (50/170/0) and third down back J.D. McKissic (34/192/0) who also has 24/191/1 as a receiver.

Driskel is also a capable runner (22/151/1) and rushed for 37 yards in the first meeting with the Bears.

Defense: The Lions enter Thanksgiving 25th in points allowed and 29th in yards allowed.

Their rushing defense ranks 24th in yards and their passing defense ranks 30th.

The only team that’s picked up less than 300 yards against this defense is Washington, who got 230 yards last week in their win over Detroit. That was four more yards than the Bears managed at Soldier Field.

The defense is led by LB Devon Kennard (6 sks/1 FF/7 TFL/11 QB hits), who has a touchdown off one of his two fumble recoveries and Trey Flowers (5 sks/2 FF/6 TFL/13 QB hits) up front.

On the back end they have DB Tracy Walker (1 INT/62 TKL/5 PD/1 FF/5 TFL), LB Jarrad Davis (56 TKL/2 sks/3 FF/4 TFL/5 QB hits), S Tavon Wilson (54 TKL/2 FR/3 PD/3 TFL) and CB Justin Coleman (10 PD/2 FF/1 INT/39 TKL). CB Rashaan Melvin (44 TKL/10 PD) also gets in the action.

Key match ups: The Bears are going to need to take advantage of a generous Lions secondary, something they could only do marginally two weeks ago. They put together three straight touchdown drives and that was it.

Trubisky needs to study the film and see what he was doing well and Matt Nagy needs to actually call that stuff. Allen Robinson should be able to abuse this secondary like he did against New York Sunday.

On defense, unleash Khalil Mack and get after Driskel. They didn’t really have much time to study him last time, so even with three days’ prep, they have more time to prepare for Driskel than last time.

What to watch for: Because it’s Thanksgiving and it’s Bears football. And frankly, you don’t want to talk about politics or when you’re going to have kids with your family.

Key stats: Bears are 7-5 all-time against Detroit on Thanksgiving, four of those seven wins were by seven or fewer points

Chicago is 8-8 all time on Thanksgiving against all opponents

The Bears have won two straight on Thanksgiving, beating the Packers in 2015 and the Lions last year

With four interceptions, the Lions defense ranks 31st in the category

However, they have 11 fumble recoveries

Detroit ranks 28th in third down defense, allowing opponents to convert 44.4 percent of their third downs. In their first game against them, the Bears went 2/12 on third down (16.7 percent)

According to Sunday’s broadcast, the Bears are six for 15 on third and one this season (although my double-checking suggests that counts Trubisky spiking the ball against the Chargers with 1 second left in the first half so they could attempt a field goal, which was made)

The Lions went from averaging 391.3 yards of offense per game to 344.3 per game. They went from 295.3 passing yards per game average to 213 (that’s net yards).

They’ve gone from averaging 25.5 points per game to 18.7 PPR

What do the Bears need to do to win Thursday?

How to watch!

This game is on CBS and we should be getting the #1 team of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo doing the game.

How to listen!

Traditional Radio - WBBM 780 (Chicago) and 105.9 FM with Jeff Joniak on the play-by-play and Tom Thayer on color.


The Bears are 2.5 point favorites and the over/under on the game is 39.5.

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