DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears will meet for the second time in 12 days — yet this matchup already looks a lot different.
Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago’s starting quarterback, is doubtful for Thursday’s rematch with the Lions because of a right shoulder injury.
That means Chase Daniel, who has barely played in the NFL since 2014, may take the field for the NFC North-leading Bears under the Thanksgiving spotlight.
“We’re on a short week. So regardless, there’s not a lot you can do. The nice thing about having a guy like Chase, regardless of which direction you go, is I was Chase’s quarterback coach in Kansas City for three years,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said.
“So, I know Chase inside out and he knows me. And so, that’s why you bring in a guy like Chase, is not only for his expertise in this offense, but in the way he handles his position each and every week.”
Trubisky threw for 355 yards and three touchdowns in Chicago’s 34-22 win over the Lions on Nov. 11. Now the teams face each other again less than two weeks later. The Bears (7-3) have won four straight.
Detroit (4-6) is in the middle of a three-game homestand that began with a victory over Carolina last weekend, but rookie running back Kerryon Johnson left that game with a knee injury. He won’t play Thursday.
So both teams have health concerns coming into this game — and they haven’t had much time to adjust to any potential lineup changes. The 32-year-old Daniel has started two games in his NFL career, and he hasn’t attempted a pass since the 2016 season.
“The guy is very versed in the system. He’s played in it for a while,” Detroit coach Matt Patricia said. “A little bit different than Trubisky, but as far as the operation of the offense, none of that really will change.”
Here are a few other things to know about Detroit’s matchup with Chicago:
EVEN QUICKER TURNAROUND
The Lions haven’t had much time to prepare for this game after playing last weekend, but the Bears had even less time to recover, since their Sunday game against Minnesota was at night.
So when Thursday’s game kicks off around 12:30 p.m. local time, Chicago will have had about 3½ days since the end of its previous game.
“Our guys, once we knew it, we prepped them on what our game plan is as far as making sure they’re mentally and physically strong and how they have to treat it,” Nagy said.
“So, it’s a positive to be flexed into a night game like we were last week, but now we have to make sure that we handle our business.”
Only Green Bay has faced the Lions more times on Thanksgiving than the Bears. Chicago and Detroit have split their previous 16 Thanksgiving meetings. The Lions lost to Minnesota last year, ending their four-game winning streak on Thanksgiving.
Kenny Golladay has a long way to go before approaching Calvin Johnson’s accomplishments, but the 6-foot-4 receiver has already made his share of acrobatic catches in his young career, including the winning touchdown against Carolina.
“His ball skills are really good. He makes play after play,” Nagy said. “He’s somebody that I was aware of, but the more you watch him, you really appreciate his game.”
Golladay became even more important for Detroit after the Lions traded Golden Tate — and now that Marvin Jones has missed time with a knee injury. Jones has been ruled out of Thursday’s game.
Detroit is ranked 24th in the league against the run, but the Lions held Carolina to 56 yards on the ground, and the Bears had only 54 the previous week.
Detroit’s Matthew Stafford has a passer rating of 100.8 in his past six Thanksgiving games, but he’ll have his work cut out for him against a talented Chicago defense — and with Johnson and Jones unavailable.
“You just have to do what you do and do it well,” Stafford said. “Obviously, they have really good players, they have a really good scheme. There are strengths at all three levels of the defense. Their front is playing as good as any front in the league right now. I think they have two really good linebackers and their secondary is playing great, too.”
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