When the Bears take on the Lions on Thursday, keep an eye out for these three matchups:
Bears LB Roquan Smithvs Lions QB Matthew Stafford
Smith hopes to have a Thanksgiving feast that includes a side of quarterback this Thursday. The rookie got a taste of Stafford two weeks ago when Chicago hosted Detroit. Smith had one of his best performances of the year, tallying 10 tackles, a pass deflection and a sack in the Bears' 34-22 win. The 2018 first-round pick followed that up with another solid performance against a divisional foe, recording seven tackles against the Vikings this past week.
Smith and the Bears defense sacked Stafford six times in their first meeting and held the Lions to just 76 rushing yards, but Detroit is coming into Thursday's contest with a little bit of momentum after edging the Panthers in Week 11. Stafford completed 23 passes for 229 yards and his offensive line limited the Panthers to only one sack. If Smith and company can find holes in the offensive line again and get around the edge, the Bears could be looking at their third straight divisional victory.
Bears WR Allen Robinson IIvs Lions CB DeShawn Shead
Robinson made his return against the Lions two weeks ago after missing two games with a groin injury and had his best game of the season. Robinson ran all over Detroit's defense, tallying six receptions, 133 yards and two touchdowns. On his first touchdown catch he burned Lions cornerback DeShawn Shead and made an impressive snag in the end zone for a 36-yard score.
Robinson will try to replicate that performance on Thursday facing off against Shead and the rest of the Lions defense. After playing every other game in Weeks 3-7, Shead has been a consistent part of the Lions defense over the last five weeks, being counted on to step up for a banged up Detroit defense. He's coming off his first game of the year in which he didn't record any defensive stats, and if Robinson is able to carry over his momentum from his last two performances, it could be another day of big Bears offense and sparse Lions defense.
Bears OL Cody Whitehairvs DT Damon Harrison
Both the Bears and the Lions have struggled to get their run games going recently. If that's going to change for Chicago this Thursday, it will rely on Whitehair to help it win the battle in the trenches. Whitehair has been a workhorse for the Bears over the past three years, starting 42 straight games since he entered the league. Whitehair hasn't missed an offensive snap since Week 8 of last season.
Harrison will line up across from Whitehair on Thursday. Harrison has been a reliable staple for Detroit this year, averaging 33 snaps per game. The seven-year veteran who was traded to the Lions from the Giants earlier this season has 23 tackles and four tackles-for-loss over the last four games. The 6-3, 353-pound tackle has more than 40 pounds on Whitehair, but if the Bears center is able to keep Harrison and the Lions' other pass rushers at bay, it will give benefit both the run game and pass game.