1. Win the field position battle.
The point here: Don’t give Matthew Stafford any short fields. The Bears’ defense is good enough to limit a Lions offense missing two of its best skill players (running back Kerryon Johnson and wide receiver Marvin Jones), so long as it forces Detroit to put together lengthy possessions. The problem would become if the Bears turn the ball over in their own territory, allowing Stafford to put points on the board by gaining 20, 30, 40 yards, etc. The Bears’ offense, too, will need to avoid three-and-outs while backed up against their own end zone, too. 

2. Don’t let Kenny Golladay beat you.
Golladay — a St. Rita product — has been targeted 27 times by Stafford in his last two games, catching 14 passes for 191 yards with two touchdowns. Without the aforementioned Jones, he’ll again be Detroit’s No. 1 passing target, and without Johnson, it’s unlikely the Lions will be able to generate much production on the ground. Golladay caught all four of his targets when matched up against Prince Amukamara in Week 10, per Pro Football Focus, while he only caught one of six against Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan. Guys like T.J. Jones and Theo Riddick are smart, savvy players (and have been since the played together at Notre Dame) but aren’t explosive playmakers, as Golladay is. Shut him down, and the Lions’ offense likely sputters. 

3. No special teams mistakes.
The most sure-fire way to lose on Thursday? Give the Lions points on special teams. The Bears, even without Mitch Trubisky, are more talented than the Lions and have better coaching, too. But this could still shape up to be a close game — the Bears are coming off a Sunday night win 88 hours before their Thursday afternoon kickoff, and the Lions will still have their Week 10 defeat fresh in their collective minds. So this means not only Cody Parkey making his kicks, but the Bears not allowing a special teams touchdown or big-chunk kick/punt return. Play a clean game on special teams, and everything should fall into place for the Bears’ eighth win of the year. 

 

Prediction: Bears 17, Lions 13. The Lions’ defense is not good, and Daniel’s knowledge of Matt Nagy’s offense will lead him to at the very least not turn the ball over. We’ll say the Bears build a 17-3 lead going into the fourth quarter, then do allow the Lions to get close — but not close enough to win. 

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