It’s another Bears-Lions Thanksgiving Feast. At least that’s what we’re calling it. By the time it’s finished on Thursday, it may be more like a Watch Paint Dry Fest or a Who Can Score Fewer Points Treat. Either way, it’s still football and it’s still an opportunity for bettors to find some value.
Game: Chicago Bears (5-6, 3-8 ATS) at Detroit Lions (3-7-1, 4-7 ATS)
When: 12:30 PM ET, Thursday, November 28, 2019
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
Current Line: CHI -3.5 Total: 38
TV Coverage: FOX
Neither the Bears’ nor the Lions’ season has gone as planned. The Lions started 2-0-1 but since are a dismal 1-7. The win was over the equally horrific 2-9 Giants. Last week, Detroit found a way to lose to the 2-9 Redskins.
Lions QB Jeff Driskel decided to give Washington a last-minute chance to win by tossing an interception with just 20 seconds to play. The ‘Skins took advantage and hit the game-winning field goal to give the Lions their fourth straight loss.
Chicago hasn’t fared much better. The Bears won the NFC North last season with an offense that showed some creativity utilizing the talent that head coach Matt Nagy has in Chicago. This year, that creativity has been reduced to a 3x5 index card that contains all of the Bears’ plays.
Ok, not really, but the Chicago offense is just bad.
The Bears average 17.1 points per game. Over their last three games, that average is a whopping 15.3. If not for a Khalil Mack strip sack which set the Bears up for an easy touchdown in last Sunday’s win over the Giants, things might have been different.
To get an idea of just how awful Chicago is on offense, consider their performance against those 2-9 (emphasis on 2-9) Giants. Chicago’s running game – if that’s what you call it this year – managed 65 yards. That’s against a defense that has allowed an average of 117.5 rushing yards per game.
Did someone say third down offense? Yeah, the Bears went 4-for-15 (26.6 percent) on third down against New York. The Giants meanwhile were allowing opponents to convert almost 40 percent of the time on third down.
The Detroit offense is nothing like it was at the start of the season. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has been out since fracturing a bone in his back. Running back Kerryon Johnson is out for the season. Now, it’s Driskel and Bo Scarbrough (who?) in the backfield trying to win games in the NFL.
To make it even worse, Detroit could be without much of its secondary on Thursday. Corners Rashaan Melvin and Jamal Agnew and safety Tracy Walker are all listed as questionable. Even Driskel, who had some hamstring issues, is listed as questionable for Thursday.
Last year’s Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit also featured the Bears. Chicago won 23-16. Detroit hasn’t won on Thanksgiving since 2016 when they beat Minnesota. The Lions are 37-40-2 in Thanksgiving Day games.
While the Bears might win a second straight Turkey Day feast in Detroit, the real value can be found in both teams’ atrocious offenses. The Total has gone Under in all five of the Bears’ last five games. The Total has gone Under in 11 of Chicago’s last 13 games against an NFC opponent. In the last eight Bears-Lions games, the Under has hit in six. Even at 38, this game is going Under.
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.