Five things to watch: Lions vs. Bears

By Matt Schoch
The Detroit News

The real — and perhaps only — reason to watch this game is that it’s Thanksgiving — it’s what you do.

That’ll save the Lions for this week, although finding five things to watch the rest of the season should be … a challenge. Looking forward to it!

Mitchell Trubisky

It stands to reason though that there will be memorable moments (somehow) on Thursday, as Bears and Lions Thanksgiving lore dictates.

Chase Daniel lit up the Lions last year, with Matthew Stafford’s pick-6 being another stomach punch for Lions fans.

In 1980, David Williams took back the overtime kickoff for a Chicago score and a 23-17 win in the fastest OT in NFL history (21 seconds).

Or how about Walter Payson rushing for 137 yards and receiving 107 more in 1977, or Barry Sanders rushing for 167 yards and three touchdowns in 1997, his next-to-last Thanksgiving game?

The Lions have been a lot of things this year, but one of those is certainly memorable. I have a feeling there will be something about Thursday's game that will stick in your mind for years to come.

Here are five things to watch as Chicago visits the Lions on Thursday (12:30 p.m., Fox, 760):

My man Mitchell

Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has a quarterback rating of 102.9 in four career games against the Lions, second-most against the seven teams he’s played at least twice.

His eight touchdowns are the most he’s thrown against any team, although his three interceptions are also tied for second.

A good Trubisky game means the Bears will win. A bad one means the Lions have a shot.

Matt meeting

The triangle of NFC North head coaches named Matt have had mixed success stories.

The Lions’ Patricia and Bears’ Nagy were the first two NFL head coaches named Matt, and Nagy is 3-0 against Patricia.

Group in Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur and Patricia is 0-4 against the Matts, while LaFleur is 2-0 against his Matt counterparts in his first year.

Looking ahead

In addition to the obvious draft implications the Lions have the rest of the season (“optimists” note there’s still a good shot at a Top-5 pick), a loss today nearly locks up a last-place finish in the NFC North.

Sure, it’s embarrassing, but we’re used to it.

Next year’s standings-match games are with the NFC’s East and West, so last place means another meeting with Arizona and either Washington or the New York Giants. Winnable games!

Return of the Mack? 

We’re running back the Mark Morrison classic song for this one, as the real Khalil Mack still has yet to stand up.

The Lions held Mack sack-less this month with the likes of Taylor Decker and Rick Wagner bottling him. It sounds crazy, but truth is, Mack only has two sacks in four career games against the Lions.

Bet the Bears 

According to Adam Thompson of, these are two of the least-reliable teams when it comes to covering the spread. The Lions haven’t covered the spread since Jeff Driskel took over against Chicago earlier this month, and they have lost six straight against the number. The Bears have just one cover in their last last seven (one guess who it was against…).

However, the Bears are 5-1-1 against the spread in the last seven meetings between the teams and the underdog (the Lions were 4-point home dogs as of Wednesday) has failed to cover the last five meetings.

Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.