Chicago Bears (3-7, 4-6 ATS) at Detroit Lions (0-9-1, 6-4), 12:30 p.m., Thanksgiving Day
Brolley’s Bears Stats and Trends
The Bears beat the Lions 24-14 in early October as three-point home favorites in a game totaled at 41.5 points. They’re 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings in this series.
Chicago is 1-4 ATS in its last five games.
The Bears are 7-2 to the under in their last nine games
Andy Dalton saw his first major action in Week 11 since he lost his starting job in Week 2, and it looks like he’ll start against the lowly Lions in Week 12 with Justin Fields leaving early against the Ravens with bruised ribs. Dalton completed 11/23 passes for 201 yards and two TDs for 16.0 FP in two quarters of action against the Ravens. Three straight QBs (Baker, Mason Rudolph, Hurts) have failed to reach 17+ FP against the Lions.
Darnell Mooney has strung together his two best fantasy performances with 20+ FP in consecutive games. With Allen Robinson (hamstring) out of the lineup last week, he posted 5/121/1 receiving on a ridiculous 16 targets against the Ravens. He’s now posted 12+ FP in three straight games and in four of his last five, and he should be peppered with targets again with A-Rob likely out. Diontae Johnson posted 7/83 receiving on 13 targets in this matchup two weeks ago. Mooney posted 5/125 receiving in this matchup back in Week 4 with Fields at quarterback.
Marquise Goodwin saw season-highs across the board in snap share (71%), targets (8), catches (4), yards (104), and touchdowns (1) with A-Rob out of the lineup. The Lions are giving up a generous 14.2 YPR to WRs this season.
Cole Kmet had been trending in the right direction after posting his first double-digit FP performance before their Week 10 bye, but he managed just a 12-yard catch on two targets in an excellent matchup against the Ravens last week. Austin Hooper posted 4/53 receiving on seven targets in this matchup last week.
David Montgomery is back to being a bellcow back since returning from his knee injury in Week 9, but he’s managed just 27/121 rushing and 3/26 receiving in those two contests. Montgomery had his best game of the season with 23/106/2 rushing against the Lions in Week 4, and Detroit is still giving up the third-most FPG (28.5) to RBs.
Brolley’s Lions Stats and Trends
The Lions are 7-1 toward unders in their last eight games.
Detroit is 3-1 ATS in its last four games.
TIm Boyle managed to be a downgrade from Jared Goff (oblique) last week, which is saying something. He completed 15/23 passes for 77 yards (3.4 YPA) and two INTs in Detroit’s three-point loss to the Browns. Goff has just one TD pass in his last five games while averaging 5.9 YPA, so he wasn’t much better. Goff had one of his better games of the season against the Bears in Week 4, posting 299/2 passing for 18.8 FP.
T.J. Hockenson survived the suck at quarterback last week, posting 6/51 receiving on eight targets. He accounted for 35% of the targets and 66% of the passing yards against the Browns. Hockenson has posted 10+ FP in four of his last five games, but his one down game was a goose egg. He managed 4/42 receiving on eight targets in this matchup earlier this season.
Amon-Ra St. Brown led these Lions WRs by catching all four of his targets for 18 yards on 21 routes against the Browns. Josh Reynolds led the Lions in routes (22) in his first game with the franchise but he failed to catch any of his three targets, while Kalif Raymond failed to catch his only target on 18 routes. Raymond had 3/46/2 receiving and St. Brown had 6/70 receiving in this matchup back in Week 4.
D’Andre Swift has posted 130+ rushing yards in their first two games out of their bye, which gives him 16+ FP in five of his last six games. His snap share did fall back to 73% with Jamaal Williams back in the lineup, who struggled with just 7/11 rushing in his first action since Week 11. Swift managed just 8/16 rushing and 4/33 receiving in his first matchup with the Bears in Week 4.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 27.9 (17th)
Plays per game: 64.9 (25th)
Pass: 52.6% (31st) | Run: 47.4% (2nd)
Pace: 29.5 (26th)
Plays per game: 65.9 (18th)
Pass: 61.7% (13th) | Run: 38.3% (20th)
All pace / play data is from the last eight weeks.
Hopefully you’re having your feast early, because you will likely want to take an afternoon nap through this game. Bears-Lions is easily the worst matchup in the Week 12 pace / plays model and could end up being even more sluggish if this game stays as tight as the spread suggests. Over the last eight weeks, the Bears are No. 1 in run rate above expected when the game is within a score in the 1st-3rd quarter… and the Lions are No. 2. All of that running isn’t working, either! The Bears have scored on just 30.6% of their drives over the last eight weeks – which is the fifth-lowest rate – while the Lions are at 25% (third-lowest). This game is well deserving of the slate’s lowest total (41.5).
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
After Justin Fields left Week 11 with 11:22 on the clock in the third quarter, Andy Dalton targeted Darnell Mooney 11 times for 3/70/1 of his total 5/121/1 receiving line. It doesn’t look like Allen Robinson II will manage to take the field after missing Week 11. There is no doubt that the 45% target share collected by Mooney last week would decline with AR12 back on the field, when he makes it back. However, a reduction in that voluminous target share would likely be accompanied by an increase in efficiency. Either way, Mooney is going to see a heavy dose of Jerry Jacobs this week. That’s a major advantage for Mooney.
Does it really matter if Jared Goff or Tim Boyle draws the start on Thursday? Chicago doesn’t exactly field the level of pass defense that was headlined by Brian Urlacher in the early-2000s, and the Lions’ offense could be motivated by the primetime Thanksgiving Day coverage. My money will not be placed on the line hoping for that to come to pass. D’Andre Swift is obviously the guy we want to target in all game types. My mind was blown that he managed to rush for 136 yards and a tuddy in Week 11 after touching the ball 39 times the previous week. That’ll be the last time I doubt Swift’s toughness.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
I have to admit, based on the way Jared Goff was playing, I thought there was a chance the Lions could throw Adam Caplan out there and get better QB play. But Tim Boyle proved last week that playing QB in the NFL is very hard.
according to PFF, Tim Boyle has the lowest average depth of target ***and*** the highest turnover-worthy play percentage of any QB with at least 10 dropbacks this year.— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) November 22, 2021
HE CAN DO IT ALL! nobody is throwing shorter, more interceptable passes than this man. pic.twitter.com/h74pzGJ3oA
That doesn’t mean things won’t be hard for Goff (oblique — questionable) if he’s able to start, but without Khalil Mack and several other key players (DT Akiem Hicks), this Bears defense gave up production to the Ravens’ Tyler Huntley in his first career start last week, so maybe there’s a chance for the Lions’ offense to actually move the ball. It’s not like you’re starting any of these guys, but maybe Goff could at least move the offense.
However, one thing Boyle did do is actually get the ball to TJ Hockenson — after Hock was somehow catchless in 70 minutes against the Steelers, he accounted for 51 of Boyle’s 77 passing yards against the Browns last week. This is a team that is built to run the ball with D’Andre Swift, who has now gone over 100 yards rushing in back-to-back games, even with Jamaal Williams returning last week.
Things have gotten ugly in Chicago, and the fans are focusing their ire on coach Matt Nagy. And the ire is everywhere.
Let’s be perfectly clear about something: Fans have a right to boo and chant whatever they want. And Matt Nagy knows it comes with the territory.— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) November 23, 2021
But doing this at his son’s playoff game is absolute BS. Be better. https://t.co/yrLf2TU1OJ
I tend to agree with the fans that Nagy’s rope has reached its end, but also that chanting at his kid about it is pretty gross. Of course, it doesn’t change the fact that Nagy is going to be fired, and an ugly performance in front of the entire country on Thanksgiving Day might hasten that process. In fact, there were reports this week that it’s already happened.
Frankly, from a fantasy perspective, I actually prefer that the Bears are going to start Andy Dalton over the injured Justin Fields (ribs). Fields had started to flash in recent weeks, but he’s had too many performances where it seems like it’s impossible for him to complete a pass. If Fields is going to develop into a quality NFL starting QB, it’s going to be under a new coaching staff.
Dalton doesn’t seem likely to have Allen Robinson (hamstring — doubtful) this week, which means more targets for WR Darnell Mooney and TE Cole Kmet, both of whom should have room to operate against an undermanned Lion defense. Mooney is a strong WR3 while Kmet is on the streaming radar if you need a TE.
While he didn’t produce last week, Bears RB David Montgomery led all running backs with a 95% snap share, and this is a beatable Lion run defense that has allowed both Najee Harris and Nick Chubb to go over 100 yards rushing in the last two weeks.
While Dalton might make this passing game more than rudimentary (perhaps I’m giving Nagy too much credit), this screams a Montgomery game for me. He’s an RB1. If Nagy fails to revolve his gameplan this week around Montgomery, it’s yet another feather in the cap of the chanting fans.