Chicago Bears (5-6 SU, 5-6 ATS) vs. Detroit Lions (7-4 SU, 5-6 ATS)
NFL Week 13
Date and Time: Thursday, November 27, 2014, 12:30 pm EST
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.
TV: FOX Network
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Chi. +7/Det. -7
Over/Under Total: 47
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The Chicago Bears are trying to climb their way out of obscurity and back into the NFC North title hunt, which is highly unlikely with only five weeks remaining in the regular season, but a victory on the road at Ford Field in Detroit over the Lions in the Motor Citys annual Thanksgiving Day football game could go a long way towards helping Bears head coach Marc Trestman save his job.
Chicago has won two in a row for the first time since early September, although it did come against the four-win Minnesota Vikings and the two-win Tampa Bay Buccaneers before we go proclaiming that theyve corrected all of their flaws. Last weeks victory over the Bucs wasnt exactly inspiring either, although they did rally from a 10-point deficit after halftime to pull away and hold on for dear life in their, 21-13, win at home in front of the Soldier Field faithful.
Meanwhile, the Lions find themselves in the midst of a two-game losing streak going into the Turkey Day tilt, their first losing streak of the 2014 season. However, the circumstances behind Detroits sudden drop in the standings are a complete 180-degree opposite to the Bears troubles, as the Lions have had to face the top team in the NFC (Arizona) and the top team in the AFC (New England) in back-to-back weeks, with the latter exposing them a little when the Patriots drilled them, 34-9, last Sunday in Foxborough. The loss also dropped the Lions out of first-place in the NFC North, looking up at the Packers for the first time since the two week tied at the top following week two action.
With the Bears relegated to the role of spoiler, now the Lions face the prospect of dropping three in a row in front of the world, as Thursdays game will be the first of three televised games on Thanksgiving Day. With the thought of dropping further behind the Packers in the NFC North before most families have even had the chance to over-eat or run to the store for an early Black Friday deal serving as motivation, you can bet the Lions will do everything in their power to get back into the win column and finish their push toward an NFC playoff spot come 2015.
Oddsmakers set the opening point spread for the first of Thursdays games with the Lions as 6.5-point favorites at home inside the confines of Ford Field. But it didnt take long for bettors to wager the line up to a full touchdown 7-points at most sportsbooks, with a few offshore sportsbooks choosing to move the number up a full point to Lions minus -7.5.
The over/under total opened at 47 and has yet to move in either direction after less than 24 hours on the board.
When these two met in previous seasons it featured one team with a top-ranked defense and one that struggled to keep teams of the scoreboard, and this season the story is still the same, its just that the roles have been reversed this season. The old Monsters of the Midway Bears defense is now only a distant memory, as the Bears are ranked 31st in the NFL allowing 27.5 points per game, with most of it coming in the passing game to the tune of 261 yards a game(29th). That should play right into the game plan for the Lions, as Mathew Stafford and the Lions are exceptionally pass-heavy to the point where they are one of the most lopsided pass-to-run teams in the league (10th in passing; 30th in rushing).
The Lions defense was the top-ranked unit in the NFL up util last weekend when the Patriots and Tom Brady carved them up and exposed them a little and dropped them to 3rd overall in yards allowed. For all of the talent the Bears have assembled on the offensive side of the ball, youd think theyd be a challenge for the Lions to defend too, but despite the fact they have All-Pros across the line and at many of the skilled positions, the Bears still only are 19th in scoring (21.5 ppg) and 16th in yards gained (347 ypg). Chicago will need to rely heavily on the arm of Jay Cutler in this game, a risky proposition at best, because the Lions still sport one of the best and deepest defensive lines in the game and only allow 70.7 yards per game on the ground.
Despite it being week 13 of the regular season, this will be the first of two meetings between these two NFC North division rivals. Detroit swept the season series last year with the Bears, beating them twice in two close games including a, 40-32, win in September in Ford Field last time in the Motor City as 3-point home favorites.
However, the Lions have the wager to make in this series, covering the point spread in the last four meetings and seven of the last eight meetings between these rivals (7-1 ATS in L8). The over has also been a solid wager over the years in Detroit, going 4-1 in the last five meetings between these two played on the turf inside Ford Field.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Detroit needs this game more and have been hard to beat at home in Ford Field for a few years now. I like the role of spoiler for the Bears, but they just arent playing well enough to get my support. I also think the Bears are going to have a really hard time stopping Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate on the outside with the weak secondary and safeties with very limited range. I dont like giving up a full touchdown, but I think Detroit is the pick here. Im taking Detroit minus the points.