The Detroit Lions have declared their Week 12 injury designations ahead of their Thanksgiving matchup with the Chicago Bears. Starting quarterback Jared Goff is listed as questionable, and is expected to be a game time decision. Additionally, five other players, including three starters, have been ruled out.
- RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai (concussion)
- OL Matt Nelson (ankle)
- WR Trinity Benson (knee)
- EDGE Trey Flowers (knee)
- NB A.J. Parker (ankle)
The Lions will be without starting right guard Vaitai and their top reserve in Nelson. Expect the Lions to turn to recently signed UDFA rookie Tommy Kraemer to start at right guard, and with only seven offensive lineman healthy, another practice squad lineman is expected to be elevated or signed ahead of the game.
Benson was a late week addition to the injury report last week and was unable to play against the Browns. On a short week, he didn’t have enough time to get healthy and he will miss Thanksgiving as well.
Flowers will also miss his second game in a row following a Week 10 knee injury. Look for Austin Bryant to get the start at SAM with Julian Okwara spelling him and WILL starter Charles Harris on the edge.
Parker missing this game is another blow to the defense. Expect safety Will Harris to fil slot duties—as he did the last time Parker was injured—with Dean Marlowe and Jalen Elliott seeing their roles expand at safety.
- QB Jared Goff (oblique)
- RB Jermar Jefferson (knee/ankle)
- DL Michael Brockers (knee)
Goff is listed as questionable, but everything seems to suggest his trajectory is towards playing on Thursday. Head coach Dan Campbell seemed optimistic about his status after seeing him throw on Monday and Tuesday.
“I thought he was better today. I think it’s leaning that way to Goff (start). We’ll see,” Campbell said.
Goff, himself, called himself a “game-day decision,” but noted that he’s made progres and feels “really good.”
“I feel good, better every day,” Goff said on Tuesday. “We’ll see. I don’t know what he has said but I would probably categorize it as a game-day decision. I feel good, though. I feel really good.”
Jefferson suffered a leg injury two weeks ago after scoring a touchdown against the Steelers. At first, it seemed like it may be a long-term injury, but Campbell noted it wasn’t as bad as they initially believed. If Jefferson can’t go, the Lions still have a health Jamaal Williams and Godwin Igwebuike to back up D’Andre Swift. But his progress of being questionable for this game is a good sign we’ll see the rookie running back again soon.
Brockers’ injury was new this week. Back-to-back “limited practices” gives the veteran a good chance to play this week. However, if he can’t go, expect the Lions to rely more on the likes of rookie Alim McNeill, and Levi Onwuzurike. Unfortunately, the Lions’ depth at defensive line is a little short this week after placing Da’Shawn Hand on IR, cutting Kevin Strong and placing Jashon Cornell on the reserve/non-football illness list a few weeks ago.