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If you are a football fan, two of the first things you think of when it comes to Thanksgiving are turkey and which teams are on the NFL schedule for the day! Two of the oldest and most historic NFL franchises will clash on Thanksgiving Day 2018 when the Chicago Bears take on the Detroit Lions from Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan this November.
Thanksgiving Day Game
Ironically, the very first Thanksgiving Day game was played between the Lions and Bears back in 1934 and the tradition of Turkey Day football has grown stronger ever since.
Both teams have aspirations of making the NFL playoffs this season, and this game will have a definite effect on the NFC North standings and each team’s playoffs hopes. Under new head coach Matt Patricia, the Lions got off to a rough start dropping their season opener against the New York Jets. That loss was followed by a 30-27 heartbreaking defeat to the San Francisco 49ers.
However, with big wins against the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers, Detroit’s hopes of making the postseason became realistic, especially in a wide-open NFC conference.
The Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears, under first-year head coach Matt Nagy, got off to a hot start by winning three of their first four games. However, after a dramatic overtime loss in Miami against the Dolphins in Week 6, the Bears have shown a few cracks in the armor. Chicago has cooled off just a bit, but just like the Lions, they are still alive and kicking for a shot at the NFC North title and a possible wild-card berth.
So with this key divisional game being aired on national television, can the Detroit Lions take down the revived Chicago Bears in this pivotal matchup? Sure they can, and here are a few reasons why.
The key for a Lions victory will undoubtedly come down to the play of quarterback Matt Stafford. Stafford is 10-6 in his career against Chicago, and he has played extremely well vs. the Bears at Ford Field. In fact, you could say that No. 9 in the Honolulu Blue and Silver has owned Chicago over the past five seasons.
Detroit has defeated Chicago in nine of their last ten meetings, and Matt Stafford has been a big reason why. During that five year span, Stafford has thrown 18 touchdowns, nine interceptions and averaged nearly 300 yards per contest. Add to that his passer rating was over 115.0 in both games in 2017, and things look positive for the Lions getting the win this Thanksgiving Day.
If you are looking for another good reason Detroit has a great shot to continue their recent dominance against the Bears, it is simple. They have a running attack.
For the first time in a long time, Detroit has a solid running game, and that should only make things easier for Matt Stafford. The additions of free agent running back LeGarrette Blount and Kerryon Johnson through the 2018 NFL draft have been huge for Detroit thus far. Also, having a great role player like Theo Riddick is like the icing on the cake. The trio of Blount, Johnson, and Riddick can cause havoc for many teams, including the Bears.
The Lions were dead last statistically in running the football for three of the past four seasons, which gave their opponents an easier ride on defense. Teams knew that if they could control Matt Stafford and wideouts like Golden Tate and Marvin Jones they had a great shot at winning. Thankfully for Lions fans, that is no longer the case.
Even if the Lions are clicking on all cylinders, it won’t be easy to take down the Bears this Thanksgiving Day. The addition of defensive end Khalil Mack during the offseason has changed the dynamics of the Bears defense seemingly overnight.
Also during the great run, Detroit has had against Chicago over the past five seasons, the Bears now have found their quarterback of the future in Mitch Trubisky. Trubisky has had flashes of greatness in his short two-year career and has brought hope to the Chicago faithful that he can lead the Bears back to the Super Bowl sometime soon.
This Turkey Day, the Lions should have just enough to tame the Bears and earn the victory. Game time between the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET and it will air nationally on CBS.