It’s hard to believe the Detroit Lions faced off against the Chicago Bears less than two weeks ago. What’s even more hard to believe is that Chase Daniel will likely be starting at quarterback for the Bears. It looks like the Lions will catch a break for the second time this season, playing against a backup quarterback.
The Miami game against Brock Osweiler ended up being the Lions’ signature win of 2018. However, this game won’t feature Kerryon Johnson running over the opposing defense.
This game will be won or lost solely on the arm of Matthew Stafford.
On the Chicago side of the ball, the Daniel promotion could spell trouble for a team that has been used to playing with the lead. The Bears strategy will be to run their offense through a run game that is fifth rushing attempts (292) and 10th in yards per game (122.9).
They may find that to be difficult without Trubisky’s legs. So far this season he’s accounted for over 29 percent of the Bears’ rushing yards. And while Trubisky hasn’t been outstanding this year, his legs have bailed the Bears out throughout the year, especially on third down.
Matt Nagy is becoming one of the league’s up and coming play callers, and he’ll need to call a great game to compensate for the loss of Trubisky.
At 7-3, the Bears are hoping the drop off at quarterback won’t dramatically change their outlook for this game, or their season. They’re going to need to control the game with their defense and limit the amount of damage a backup quarterback can do.
Bears’ biggest threat
By most statistics, the Bears are one of, if not the best, defense in the NFL.
- They lead the league in takeaways (27).
- They are top five in opponent points per game (19.5).
- And they allow the lowest opposing passer rating in the NFL (79.4).
They have been dominating opposing quarterbacks all season. And the last month hasn’t been pretty at all:
Last 4 QBs* vs. the Bears:— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) November 20, 2018
60.1% completion rate, 5.28 Y/A, 5 TDs, 7 INTs, QB rating: 66.8
*includes Nathan Peterman
Stafford will have his work cut out for him this week. And no real threat at running back means he’ll have to find ways to defeat a very stout Bears pass defense.
The Lions did just play the Bears a few weeks ago, so hopefully they can make some corrections coming into Thanksgiving, but no Kerryon Johnson or Marvin Jones Jr. will make it tough to move the ball consistently.
Bears’ weak link
Both teams will say all the right things, but there’s a reason Daniel has only thrown three passes since 2014. Just because he’s been paid like a top-level backup quarterback doesn’t mean he actually is.
Daniel has attempted just 78 passes his entire professional career. To put that into perspective, Mitchell Trubisky had 50 attempts in a single game this season.
Daniel’s 2018 preseason numbers, however, show he can be an effective passer when given the chance.
- 67.6 Completion Percentage
- 518 Passing Yards
- 7.0 Yards Per Attempt
- 93.1 Passer Rating
This will come down more to scheme than skill with Daniel. Nagy should be able to create voids in the Lions defense and set Daniel up for success.
And if the Lions defense plays like this again, it won’t matter who is throwing the ball for the Bears:
This image sums up the Lions/Bears game ♂️ pic.twitter.com/CVvZCHVqYh— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) November 12, 2018
The Bears defense has been phenomenal this season, but this is 2018 and games aren’t won with a strong defense alone. The Bears offense wasn’t great before the Trubisky injury and the Chase Daniel experience will be just enough to give the Lions the edge on Thanksgiving.
Lions 24 Bears 23