By Danny Cox
The annual Thanksgiving Day games in the NFL are upon us, and as usual, the Detroit Lions are playing and this year it will be a divisional match-up with the Chicago Bears. Both team are needing a win for their playoff hopes to stay alive, and it’s not going to be easy as both have been playing well as of late. There are numerous keys for each side to pick up a victory, and all weapons will need to be running on all cylinders.
Tracy Wolfson of CBS Sports has been roaming the sidelines this season and has been keeping an eye on all NFL teams as they move toward their goals of a berth in the Super Bowl. She spoke on the match-up between the Bears and Lions on Thanksgiving and how important a win is for both of them.
Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson haven’t been on the same page in past weeks. What do you believe is the main problem in their connecting?
Tracy Wolfson: “Well, injuries have been a big part of it and Calvin Johnson has been dealing with that some this season. During that time and his time out, Golden Tate has really stepped up and produced for the Lions. When he is healthy, Johnson draws lots of double-teams, but still…he’s Megatron. They may seem off track at times, but they can always get back when needed.”
Jay Cutler is still under fire by all Chicago fans and getting to the playoffs may not even change that. How can he actually get back in their good graces?
TW: “Win. He’s just got to win. Yes, the Bears have done that in the past couple of weeks but Bears’ fans, and all NFL fans, want wins. In order to get the fans on his side, Cutler simply has to lead the Bears and get them some victories. Only then will he be able to get back in their good graces.”
Detroit has a habit of winning games in the final few minutes this season, but that likely won’t work in the playoffs. What can do they do change this pattern?
TW: “They have done that a lot this season, and the playoffs will be a different thing. In order to win in the playoffs, it’s not going to work if they keep having to come back and win at the end. Jumping out to a lead early on will be essential for the Lions or any team in the playoffs and they’re going to need to do that.”
Who is a key player for each team in getting a win on Thanksgiving Day?
TW: “Of course, there are always the quarterbacks in Stafford and Cutler, but sometimes you need to look past that. Reggie Bush should be returning from injury this week for the Lions and it will be interesting to see how he does on Thanksgiving. Of course there is Megatron and Golden Tate as well. For the Bears, Alshon Jeffrey will need to really have a big game and Matt Forte running well and strong will be key for Chicago.”
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.