By Chris King
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A pair of NFC North rivals that have clashed for nearly a century take the field to kick off Thanksgiving football in the Motor City. The Chicago Bears are on the road as they travel to face the Detroit Lions Thursday afternoon. Chicago fell short, 16-13, at home to the Lamar Jackson-less Ravens as a one-point underdog Sunday afternoon. Detroit remained winless on the season as they were upended 13-10 on the road by Cleveland Sunday, though they did cover as a 14-point underdog. In the all-time regular season series between the teams, the Bears own a 103-75-5 edge and have won six of the last seven meetings. That includes a 24-14 home win in the most recent matchup on October 3, 2021 as a three-point favorite.
Chicago Bears Hoping to Sweep Season Series
Chicago dropped their second straight heartbreaker and their fifth straight overall as they lost to Baltimore at home Sunday afternoon. The Bears dropped to 3-7 on the season with the loss and try to sweep the season series with the lowly Lions. Against Baltimore, Chicago trailed 6-0 at the half, rallied to lead 7-6 after three quarters, and took a 13-9 lead with 1:41 to play. Unfortunately for the Bears, it wasn’t meant to be, as the Ravens drove 72 yards in five plays and 1:19 to score the winning touchdown with 22 seconds to go. Chicago held a 353-299 edge in total offense despite losing the first down battle 23-14 and the time of possession by a 38:50 to 21:10 margin. Both teams turned the ball over once in the contest.
On the season, the Bears are 32nd in the league in passing offense with 155.8 yards per game while they are 6th in rushing by averaging 132.1 yards per contest. Chicago is 29th in the league in scoring offense with an average of 16.3 points per game while they are 21st in scoring defense by allowing 24 points per contest. Andy Dalton is 48 of 73 passing for 471 yards with three touchdowns and one interception on the year. He adds 38 yards on the ground. Justin Fields is 115 of 198 for 1,361 yards with four touchdowns and eight interceptions while adding 311 yards and two scores on the ground. In the run game, David Montgomery is the feature back with 96 carries for 430 yards plus three scores. Khalil Herbert (86 carries, 364 yards, TD) and Damien Williams (37 carries, 139 yards, two TD) stepped up while Montgomery was on IR. Darnell Mooney leads the team with 41 catches for 571 yards plus three scores. Allen Robinson II (30 catches, 339 yards, TD), tight end Cole Kmet (29 grabs, 296 yards) and Marquise Goodwin (16 catches, 277 yards, TD) are solid secondary options. Cairo Santos has hit 16 of 17 extra point attempts and 13 of 15 field goal tries with a long of 47 this season.
Fields was knocked out of Sunday’s game with a rib injury and his status for this one is up in the air. If he can’t go, Dalton would step back in as the starting quarterback. Wide receivers Robinson II (hamstring) and Mooney (foot), along with defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (ankle), running back Damien Williams (calf) along with defensive backs Eddie Jackson (hamstring) and Duke Shelley (hamstring) either didn’t practice or were limited in Monday’s walkthrough. Their statuses heading into kickoff need to be monitored. Khalil Mack (foot) is done for the season, taking the team’s best pass rusher out of the mix.
Detroit Lions Seeking First Win of Season
Detroit hung tough on the road against the Browns in their contest Sunday but fell short of their first victory as they were beaten by a field goal. The Lions fell to 0-9-1 on the season though they hung tough against an AFC North team for the second straight week. Against Cleveland, Detroit was down 13-0 at the half but blanked the Browns in the second half. The Lions got within 13-10 with 9:07 to play but only saw the ball one more time in the contest. Detroit was outgained 349-245, gave up 22 first downs while picking up 12 and lost the time of possession by a 34:57 to 25:03 margin. Both teams turned the ball over twice in the contest.
On the season, the Lions are 30th in the league in passing offense with 197.8 yards per contest. Detroit stands 16th in rushing as they average 114.2 yards a game this year. The Lions are 30th in the league in scoring offense as they put up an average of 16 points per contest while they are 30th in scoring defense by allowing 27.3 points per game. Jared Goff is 220 of 333 passing for 2,109 yards with eight touchdowns and six interceptions while adding 76 yards on the ground. Tim Boyle is 15 of 23 passing for 77 yards and two interceptions. D’Andre Swift leads the team on the ground with 137 carries for 555 yards and four touchdowns this season. Jamaal Williams is next in line with 78 carries for 323 yards and two scores. T.J. Hockenson leads the team with 54 catches for 499 yards and two scores this season. Swift (53 receptions, 420 yards, two TD), Kalif Raymond (30 catches, 363 yards, two TD) and Amon-Ra St. Brown (35 grabs, 329 yards) are other receiving options for the Lions. Austin Seibert is five of five on extra point attempts and 10 of 12 on field goals with a long of 52. Ryan Santoso was five of six on extra points and two of three on field goals with a long of 35 while Aldrick Rosas hit his lone extra point attempt and his lone field goal attempt with a long of 43.
Right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai (concussion), linebacker Trey Flowers (knee), defensive back AJ Parker (ankle), tackle Matt Nelson (ankle) and defensive tackle Da’Shawn Hand (groin) all missed practice Monday. Goff, who missed Sunday’s game with a back injury, took some reps in the practice. His status bears monitoring leading into the game.
When these two teams lock up, tightly contested games usually follow. Both teams could be playing their backup quarterback in this contest with injuries hampering Fields and Goff. If that is the case, the Bears have the upper hand as Dalton has had plenty of experience as a starting quarterback. Chicago won the first meeting this season and they were narrowly beaten in their last two losses as they were edged by Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the final minutes of those contests. The Bears have shown a lot of grit and character in the last couple of weeks. Look for the Bears to build off those contests and pick up the victory in this contest.
Prediction: Chicago Bears -3.5
Written By Chris King , “Chris King”
Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it’s playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he’s checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO. If it’s out there, he’s covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career. Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He’s written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you’re looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.