When the Bears have the ball
Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky hasn’t done much to quiet the deafening criticism that’s been directed his way since his last meeting with the Lions. However, he did have one of his best performances of the year in the teams’ last meeting with three touchdown passes. A similar outing would be problematic for a Lions defense that has had trouble stopping anyone for most of the season.
His most dangerous weapon, receiver Allen Robinson, is coming off of a season-high 131-yard performance in a win over the New York Giants. The rest of the Bears’ receiving corps, including their tight end unit, is nothing short of underwhelming, so expect Robinson to see his fair share of targets, playing in his hometown on Thanksgiving for the second year in a row.
In addition to Trubisky’s stagnation, the Bears’ struggles on offense have been largely due to a dormant running game, which ranks in the bottom five in total yards, yards per attempt and first downs, in addition to scoring just six touchdowns. Conversely, the Lions’ once-hapless run defense is improving, having given up over 90 rushing yards just once over the past five games.
A key to that upward swing has been the steady play of edge defender Trey Flowers, who may not be available for the second straight game due to a concussion. Should Flowers be sidelined again, look for rookie Austin Bryant to get a boost in playing time, after registering just 16 uneventful snaps in his NFL debut last Sunday.
The Lions’ secondary could get back one of their most important contributors in safety Tracy Walker, who has missed three of the past four games with a knee injury. Walker was enjoying a fine sophomore season before being bitten by the injury bug, and the more time he is able to get on the field as 2019 draws to a close will only work toward his benefit for the future.