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Analysis Bears

Four Downs: Bears In Letdown Spot vs. Lions

The Chicago Bears and Detriot Lions will face-off on Thanksgiving. Read the full game preview here.

The Chicago Bears are coming off their biggest win in almost a decade.

Now, they will have to turn around and play the Detriot Lions on Thanksgiving morning. No team in NFL history has played in a Sunday night game, then had to play on Thursday morning. The Bears are in uncharted territory.

They are also in a letdown spot.

The Lions are in last place in the NFC North, while the Bears are coming off a big win. Having a quick turnaround doesn’t help either. Oh yeah, their starting quarterback may miss the game with a shoulder injury.

Getting to 8-3 would almost guarantee the Bears make the playoffs for the first time since 2010. However, Thursday’s game will be anything, but easy. Here are some things to watch for when the Bears take on the Lions.

1st Down: Lions’ Injuries 

The Lions will be missing multiple players on Thursday, including WR Marvin Jones and RB Kerryon Johnson. That is obviously good news for the Bears. The Lions will be limited in the number of weapons they have on offense.

Just when the Lions found a featured back, he gets injured. Now, they will go with a backfield of Theo Riddick, LeGarrette Blount, and Zach Zenner. The problem with Riddick and Blount is that they are one dimensional. Last week, they combined for one yard on eight carries.

That’s why they may give Zenner some touches against the Bears. Still, running against the Bears’ defense won’t be an easy task. They have allowed just 3.6 yards per carry this season. With that being said, Riddick should see a fair share of targets in the passing game.

As for Jones, his absence leaves the Lions’ receiving core bare. It’s basically Kenny Golladay and not much else.

Again, the Bears have an advantage over the Lions by being the healthier team, but they have an injury issue of their own.

2nd Down: Trubisky or Daniel?

By now, it’s no secret that Bears’ QB Mitch Trubisky is dealing with some kind of shoulder injury. The injury occurred after a dirty play by the VikingsHarrison Smith. Trubisky did not throw at all on Monday and Tuesday.

There have been conflicting reports on whether or not Trubisky will play on Thursday.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the Bears are optimistic that Trubisky can play.

David J. Chao, otherwise known as the ProFootballDoc, wrote an entire article explaining why he thinks the Bears will sit Trubisky and let Chase Daniel start on Thanksgiving against the Lions.

After he was hit, Trubisky went down on his back to gather himself. Running back Jordan Howard came over to reach out his right hand to help up his QB, but Trubisky clearly favored his right arm by reaching awkwardly out with his left hand for assistance.

He finished the game and threw only one more pass, which was a throwaway on a rollout while under pressure. But it could also be interpreted as an uncomfortable motion for his shoulder, causing a lackluster throw.

I’m not saying his season is in jeopardy. But with this fact pattern, Thursday against the Lions is doubtful.

Check out his entire piece here.

If Trubisky doesn’t go, Daniel will be the starter for the Bears. The Bears have a tough decision on their hands. They don’t want Trubisky’s injury to get worse but want to beat the Lions. They also don’t want to be limited in what they can do on offense.

What would you do? Start or sit Trubisky?

We probably won’t get an answer on this until Thursday morning.

Update – It will be Daniel for the Bears on Thursday.

3rd Down: Running Game 

It’s no secret that the Bears haven’t been able to run the football effectively in 2018. Things could change on Sunday, especially because we could have a QB with a bad shoulder playing or a backup QB getting the start.

Either way, Matt Nagy and his staff should devise a gameplan that involves running the ball a decent amount.

The Lions’ defense ranks 30th in DVOA. They are also 25th against the run. There should be opportunities on the ground for the Bears, who could feature both Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen on Thursday.

4th Down: Final Thoughts/Prediction 

I would be lying if I said Trubisky’s injury didn’t make me nervous. The Bears need to win this game to keep a comfortable lead in the division. Playing the Lions, at home, on Thanksgiving is never easy. Especially, on a quick turnaround.

The Bears’ defense is going to have to step up once again, which shouldn’t be a problem. Whether it’s Trubisky or Daniel under center, the Bears should win this football game. Give me the Bears in a closer game than expected.

Bears 28 Lions 25

Follow Nick on Twitter–Featured Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

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Nick is a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University and passionate about everything Chicago sports (except the Cubs). He has run his own website, been featured on Bleacher Report, and tried to sell his soul on eBay (which he hasn’t gotten back). He hopes to one day see his beloved Bears win the Super Bowl and is still trying to figure out why Jay Cutler gets so much hate.

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