Rod Beard of The Detroit News breaks down Thursday's game between the Lions (7-4) and Bears (5-6) at Ford Field (12:30 p.m., CBS, 97.1-FM).

Bears players to watch

Jay Cutler, QB: He's coming off a 130-yard performance against the Buccaneers last week, and helped turn things around with two straight wins.

Matt Forte, RB: He will need to help control the ball and keep Cutler from having to throw too much. He had 89 yards last week.

Brandon Marshall, WR: He won't have to fight any Lions fans, but will have a tough time against the secondary, which has been pretty good.


On a roll: The Lions swept the Bears in both games last year and need this game to try to get back in playoff position.

Don't forget us: The Bears were left for dead during a streak of five losses in six games. A victory could put them back in the playoff discussion.

A feast: The Lions ended their streak of nine straight losses on Thanksgiving last season by drubbing the Packers, 40-10.

Avoiding a slide: Lions coach Jim Caldwell is facing his first mini-crisis, with a two-game losing streak and some questions about the offensive play-calling. How the Lions fare this week could determine how the rest of the season goes.

Back again: Both teams are coming off a short week, with only three days to prepare.

Facts and figures

In Thanksgiving Day matchups, the Bears lead the series 8-7. The Bears and Lions last played in the holiday classic in 1999, which the Lions won 21-17.

Cutler is tied for the second-most INTs (12), trailing only Jaguars QB Blake Bortles.

The Bears are 29th in pass defense, allowing 260.5 yards. The Lions have struggled throwing the ball.

The Bears are tied for fourth in red-zone efficiency, converting 67 percent. The Lions are among the top teams, allowing scores on about half.

Scoring will be a battle of attrition, as the Lions are 29th in scoring (17.9 poiunts) and the Bears defense is 31st (27.5 points).