At the time of this publishing, the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears faced off just 16 days ago. On that day, we learned that Matthew Stafford had a pretty serious injury that would end his 136-game starting streak and hold him out until, at least, present day.
With a scrambling Jeff Driskel, the Bears defense was able to hold Detroit to just 13 points on the day. And while Mitchell Trubisky struggled—like he has all season—he inexplicably threw touchdowns on three consecutive drives and did nothing else for the rest of the game. That was enough for the win.
The two teams are set to face off for the second straight Thanksgiving on Thursday, but since we already learned about the Chicago Bears in our Week 10 scouting report, we’re going to do things a little differently this week. Let’s take a look at what has changed and what has stayed the same in the two weeks since these rivals met.
The Chicago Bears’ defense appears to be returning to 2018 levels. In the past five games, they’re allowing just 16.6 points per game. Khalil Mack finally got his first sack after a three-game drought. Chicago has forced three turnovers in two games after forcing just 12 in the first nine games.
It’s not drastically different, as Chicago’s defense was pretty damn good already, but they do appear to be getting better.
What’s the same?
Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears offense still really, really stinks. Trubisky looked awful against the Rams and was even benched in the final moments, although head coach Matt Nagy claimed Trubisky was dealing with a hip injury at the time.
He was a little better against the Giants, completing 25-of-41 passes for 278 yards, one score and two interceptions.
But let’s not overlook just how bad Chicago’s running game has been. Here’s a look at David Montgomery’s stats over the past two games:
vs. Rams: 14 carries, 31 yards (2.2 YPC)
vs. Giants: 13 carries, 22 yards (1.7 YPC)
In fact, if you look at Montgomery’s entire rookie season, he has averaged over 3.5 yards per carry just twice all season. He was inefficient against the Lions defense last time, too, rushing for just 60 yards on 17 carries (3.5 YPC) with his longest rush totalling 9 yards.
A few weeks ago, the Bears were 17th best team by Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. Here’s how their team broke down:
Offense: 26th (Pass offense: 21st, Run offense: 26th)
Defense: 5th (Pass defense: 7th, Run defense: 12th)
Now the Bears rank 20th overall. Here’s their breakdown:
Offense: 27th (Pass offense: 24th, Run offense: 31st)
Defense: 6th (Pass defense: 7th, Run defense: 12th)
As you can see, there’s not a ton of difference here, but it’s also apparent that the offense has somehow gotten even worse over the course of two weeks.
Chicago continues to be hampered by the loss of both defensive tackle Akiem Hicks and guard Kyle Long, and both currently remain on injured reserve.
Additionally, linebacker Danny Trevathan remains out after he suffered a gruesome elbow injury against the Lions a few weeks ago.
Offensively, Chicago has taken a couple more hits this week. Right tackle Bobby Massie is expected to miss this week with an ankle injury. Massie was the highest-graded player on this struggling offensive line. Either former Lion Cornelius Lucas or undrafted rookie Alex Bars is expected to take his place.
Additionally, Chicago may be missing two players who scored touchdowns against the Lions last time. Both tight end Ben Braunecker and wide receiver Taylor Gabriel are in concussion protocol and seem unlikely to clear it before Thursday.