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Bears vs. Lions Week 12 Picks: Chicago Will Stop its Slide Against Detroit

Bears Lions Picks
Andy Dalton will lead the Bears against the rival Lions on Thanksgiving Day. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images/AFP.

The tradition of the Detroit Lions hosting Thanksgiving Day festivities continues, this time against the rival Chicago Bears. Here’s how the matchup breaks down in our Bears-Lions picks.

The Bears and Lions are in a world of hurt both in the standings, and in their respective quarterback rooms.

The Lions are still searching for their first win this season. Their latest gut punch came with backup Tim Boyle under center, who had attempted just four career regular-season passes entering Week 11, then tossed for a mere 77 yards in a 13-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

The Bears, meanwhile, are 3-7 and experiencing their own quarterback pain. They lost both their fifth straight game in Week 12 and rookie QB Justin Fields for at least one contest. He left due to bruised ribs, and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports Fields won’t suit up on Thanksgiving Day.

That means the clash of juggernauts that is Jared Goff vs. Andy Dalton will be under the Turkey Day spotlight. Goff was a limited participant in practice on Tuesday but will return after a one-game absence.

Here are my picks and predictions for the NFL’s Week 12 matchup between the Lions and Bears (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Bears vs. Lions Game Info

Date/Time: Thursday, Nov. 25, 12:30 p.m. ET
TV: FOX
Location: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Weather: Indoors

Bears vs. Lions Odds Analysis

The line has shifted a bit at DraftKings. The Bears were initially 3.5-point favorites, and they've since moved down to -3, making them slightly more appealing. Other sportsbooks like FanDuel and BetMGM also list the Bears at -3.

The total is relatively steady too, though BetMGM has now set it at 41, while DraftKings and FanDuel are at 41.5.

Bears vs. Lions Picks

Bears -3 (-115) ★★★
Under 41.5 (-110) ★★★★

SEE ALSO: Bills vs. Saints Picks

Bears vs. Lions Predictions

Bears -3 (-115)

There's a certain stench that's unique to the Lions. That comes with the territory when a team is still searching for its first victory as Christmas specials start airing.

The Lions have posted a decent record against the spread while going 6-4; however, they're 2-2 ATS at home, and much of that overall ATS success came with Goff fully healthy and able to accumulate garbage-time points. He'll likely be limited even though he's active.

The Lions were able to muster just 245 yards of offense under Boyle last week, and that came against the Browns' 17th-ranked scoring defense.

Detroit has shown a teaspoon of progress during its last two matchups while tying with the Pittsburgh Steelers and losing by only three to the Browns. The larger sample size of the Lions' season tells a dark tale of destruction. The team lost by an average of 13.75 points over its other eight games.

Points will be a struggle on both sides, but Dalton is somehow the more competent passer in this game after throwing for 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions across 11 games in 2020. Yes, that came with more talent around him with the Dallas Cowboys, but the same will be true on Thanksgiving compared to the Lions.

Under 41.5 (-110)

This is very predictably a basement-level number, and that's where these two teams live, too.

The Bears and Lions could very quickly induce plenty of holiday naps, even before the turkey hits. Chicago and Detroit rank 29th and 30th in points per game while averaging 16.3 and 16.0, respectively. That's a product of an inability to move the ball downfield quickly when these offenses inevitably need to claw out of a hole.

The Bears scored 15 or fewer points in three of their losses during their current skid. The two exceptions — a heartbreaking 29-27 loss to the Steelers, and a 33-22 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers — were largely the result of Fields showing flashes of his skill and perhaps beginning to turn a corner. He completed 70.37% of his pass attempts against the 49ers — a high over eight starts — while also showcasing his scrambling ability and running for 103 yards and a touchdown. Then against Pittsburgh, he piled up a season-high 291 passing yards.

Fields will now be watching from the sideline. Although Dalton remains a respectable backup and can clear the low bar of leading his team to victory against a hapless 30th-ranked defense allowing 27.3 points per game, it's difficult to envision any sort of eruption.

It's far more likely that Dalton does enough to get his team a lead early, and then the Bears ride a rushing offense churning out 132.1 yards per game (sixth). Even if they're trailing, the Lions' only reliable way to advance downfield is through their own rushing offense. RB D'Andre Swift will surely be leaned on after his 266 rushing yards over Detroit's last two games.

The clock will keep moving and the score will stay low, all while you abandon all guilt and complete a few more trips from the couch to the table for pumpkin pie.

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Picks made on 11/23/2021 at 10:58 a.m. ET