The game on Thanksgiving this year has an eerily similar feel to it.
The Detroit Lions play the Chicago Bears for the second consecutive year on the fourth Thursday of November.
Last season, the Bears (5-6) started backup quarterback Chase Daniel in place of Mitch Trubisky and won at Ford Field 23-16.
This season, the Lions (3-7-1) were going to start a backup QB regardless, but they didn’t believe it would be their backup to their backup.
Jeff Driskel has filled in the last three games for Matthew Stafford, who has been out with a back injury.
In those games, albeit all losses, Driskel has played admirably. He has completed 59% of his passes and thrown for 685 yards. He also has four touchdowns and four interceptions. He even contributed on the ground as he has rushed for 151 yards and a TD.
But now Driskel is hurt with a hamstring injury and the Lions are turning to David Blough, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Purdue. In the preseason with Cleveland, he threw for 271 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
The positive note for the Lions and Blough is that they have one of the most dynamic receiving duos in the NFL.
Marvin Jones has 701 yards and eight touchdowns while Kenny Golladay has 792 yards and eight touchdowns. Their touchdown total is tied for second in the league behind Tampa Bay’s Chris Godwin’s nine receiving scores.
The Lions have also found some resemblance of a run game as well over the past couple of weeks. With starting running back Kerryon Johnson on injured reserve, Detroit has turned to Bo Scarbrough.
In his two games with Detroit, while also making his NFL debut two weeks ago, he has rushed for 153 yards on 32 carries and a touchdown.
But they will be going up against one of the fiercest defenses in the league.
Chicago is giving up 17.1 points per game, which ranks fourth in the NFL. They are also top ten in total yards allowed per game (315.6), passing yards allowed per game (218.8) and rushing yards allowed per game (96.8).
The Bears have also allowed 20 points or fewer in eight games this year and have gone 5-3 in those contests.
As for Chicago’s offense, they are near the bottom of the league in nearly every offensive category. They are averaging 17.1 points per game, which ranks 28th. They are also 29th or worse in total yards per game (269.3), passing yards per game (190.7) and rushing yards per game (78.5).
Trubisky has struggled all year and has the 31st ranked QBR.
But against Detroit just a few weeks ago, he had arguably his best game of the year. In a 20-13 win, Trubisky completed 16 of his 23 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns. He also led the Bears to all three of those scoring drives in a span of 5 minutes and 47 seconds.
Trubisky and the Chicago offense could be in line for another solid offensive outing as Detroit has one of the worst defenses in the National Football League.
The Lions are 25th in points allowed per game (26.5), 29th in total yards allowed per game (396.2), 30th in passing yards allowed per game (275.5) and 24th in rushing yards allowed per game (120.7).
Injuries, while almost a given at this point in the NFL season, could alter the outcome of this one.
While Detroit is already down two quarterbacks, they have a laundry list of other injuries to deal with. Cornerbacks Jamal Agnew (ankle) and Rashaan Melvin (ribs) have already been ruled out. Safety Tracy Walker (knee), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (knee), defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (ankle), tight end T.J. Hockenson (shoulder) and defensive end Trey Flowers (concussion) are all questionable heading into this game.
As for Chicago, they will be without cornerback Sherrick McManis (groin), offensive tackle Bobbie Massie (ankle), linebacker Danny Trevathan (elbow), tight end Adam Shaheen (foot), wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (concussion) and tight end Ben Braunecker (concussion), as they have all been ruled out.
But now on to the prediction.
Chicago, sitting at 5-6, is trying to claw their way back to the .500 mark and keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Detroit, with Driskel or Blough under center, may be just what the doctor ordered for the Bears.
They won at Ford Field on Thanksgiving last year with a backup QB and are now playing against a backup QB with their starter back at the helm. While Trubisky and the offense has struggled all year, they showed a few weeks ago that they could get it going against this Detroit defense.
Without Stafford, who is the all-time leading passer in games on Thanksgiving with 2,705 yards, this game will not go in the Lions favor.
Detroit will lose this one and their downward spiral will continue. After starting the season off 2-0-1, the Lions will fall to 3-8-1 after this game. Chicago will win and get back to .500 at 6-6 and keep their Wild Card hopes alive for at least another week.
Bears 27, Lions 13.
All stats are courtesy of ESPN.com.