Bears unlikely to face Matt Stafford in Week 13's Thanksgiving game

Bears unlikely to face Matt Stafford in Week 13's Thanksgiving game

The Bears will play the Detroit Lions in Week 13's Thanksgiving game, but they'll likely be facing backup quarterback Jeff Driskel for the second time in three weeks.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is unlikely to play as he continues to recover from a back injury.

"With the fractures in Stafford's back, surgery is not considered an option," Schefter wrote. "The injuries are potentially chronic, and Stafford knows that the pain — which he has dealt with dating back to last season — could be an issue for him for years to come. But Stafford still wants to return to play this season, despite knowing the risks involved."

The Bears defeated the Driskel-led Lions, 20-13, in Week 11, but the fourth-year pro fared well against Chicago's defense. He completed 27-of-46 passes for 269 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He added 37 yards rushing on five carries.

The Bears will look to complete the season sweep of Detroit in front of a national holiday audience in Week 13.

Bears Season in Review: David Montgomery

Bears Season in Review: David Montgomery

One of the lone bright spots from the Chicago Bears offense in 2019 was rookie running back David Montgomery, who after being selected in the third round of the 2019 NFL draft instantly became a fan-favorite.

Montgomery began the season as the favorite to replace Jordan Howard's lost production after the veteran was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles earlier in the 2019 offseason. There was little competition for Montgomery to rise to the top of the depth chart, with only Mike Davis and Tarik Cohen standing in his path. By Week 2, Montgomery was RB1.

Unfortunately, he didn't receive much help from his offensive line. Montgomery was often met at or behind the line of scrimmage but still managed to produce at a relatively high level. He broke 47 tackles last season, a total that ranked eighth in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. 

By the time the season came to an end, Montgomery carried the ball 242 times for 889 yards and six touchdowns. His 3.7 yards per carry isn't an elite total, but when factoring the disaster that was the Bears' offensive line and passing game, it's pretty remarkable he was able to be that productive.

Montgomery didn't receive much help from the playcalling, either. He received more than 20 carries in just four games and had seven games with less than 15 rushing attempts. A running back who plays with as much physicality and aggression as Montgomery needs more touches to get rolling. He wasn't given that opportunity enough in 2019.

Still, his rookie season was a success. More will be expected from Montgomery in 2020 and a jump in production should come as Nagy builds the running game around his strengths. He should also benefit from improved play from the offensive line as an investment is expected to be made at guard in either free agency or the NFL draft.

Montgomery is one of the few players in 2019 who gave Bears fans a reason to be optimistic about the future. He has the natural ability to run for more than 1,300 yards in any given season, and that's a great thing for a franchise with as a rich of a tradition at running back as Chicago.

Did Patriots owner Robert Kraft crush Bears' hope for Tom Brady?

Did Patriots owner Robert Kraft crush Bears' hope for Tom Brady?

The Bears are one of the first teams mentioned when speculation about where New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady could play in 2020. The Bears are the most quarterback-needy club that also has a chance to make a Super Bowl run with a player like Brady under center, so it's logical to assume the soon-to-be free agent will at least entertain the idea of playing home games at Soldier Field next year.

Much of what happens with Brady will come down to how the Patriots view the 42-year-old (he'll be 43 at the start of next season). If all things are equal, and New England makes him a fair offer to come back, it's likely Brady would return to the only franchise he's ever played for. And if owner Robert Kraft's recent comments are sincere, it's more than likely that he will.

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Kraft, who was in New York City on Tuesday, was asked by TMZ reporters whether the Patriots will re-sign Brady this offseason. His response? 

"We plan to," Kraft said.

Well, there you have it, right? If the Patriots plan to re-sign Brady, then the Patriots are going to re-sign Brady; assuming, of course, you believe what Kraft is saying in January before New England's decision-makers have had enough time to assess their quarterback situation with, and maybe without, No. 12 under center.

Brady is coming off of one of his worst seasons as a pro, which is saying something considering he's been playing for two decades. His completion percentage was the lowest it's been in six years, his yardage total was the second-lowest in the last 10 years, and his 24 touchdown passes were the fewest he's thrown in a season since 2006. 

It's natural to wonder whether Father Time has finally caught up to him. Maybe, however, his down year was a result of lacking talent at wide receiver and tight end. Regardless of the reason, his 2019 campaign has called into question where he'll be in 2020.

But there are those three words Kraft said — 'we plan to' — that can't be ignored. At the very least, Bears fans can't get their hopes up. The Patriots tend to get what they want, and if they want Brady back in 2020, they'll have him.