Wed Nov 27 4:18pm ET
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
Detroit Lions quarterback Jeff Driskel (2) tries to throw a pass while being hit by Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Anderson during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Landover, Md. The Redskins won 19-16. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) celebrates a touchdown behind New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins (20) during the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
DETROIT (AP) Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has been erratic this season, and he recently had a minor injury issue.
The Detroit Lions would love to have such problems.
It's not clear who will be taking snaps for the Lions when they face the Bears on Thursday. Starter Matthew Stafford - who hadn't missed a game since the 2010 season - will be sidelined a fourth straight game with back and hip problems. Backup Jeff Driskel has been decent at times, but now he's dealing with a hamstring injury. So it's possible the Lions will turn to David Blough, a rookie quarterback who has never played in an NFL game.
Stafford was ruled out for Thursday's game, and Driskel was listed as questionable Wednesday. Coach Matt Patricia said the team has tried to keep Blough prepared.
''We've put him in certain situations. We have different team periods throughout practice normally when we're out there,'' Patricia said. ''We like to take those different kind of chances during the week to mix up some of the huddles, and who is out there and who is not. We do it really at all positions, and certainly, Blough is one of those guys that it's important for us to do that with, too.''
This isn't an ideal way for the Lions (3-7-1) to enter their annual Thanksgiving showcase, but it's an accurate portrayal of where the franchise is right now. Detroit has lost seven of its last eight games and is coming off an abysmal defeat at weak Washington last weekend. Patricia appears headed to a second consecutive losing season since taking over as coach - a loss to the Bears would assure that.
Chicago (5-6) isn't in good shape either, even after beating the New York Giants over the weekend. Trubisky is averaging 5.8 yards per pass attempt, the lowest mark of his three-year career. The Bears did beat the Lions 20-13 on Nov. 10 in Detroit's first game without Stafford, but a four-game losing streak prior to that win left Chicago in a hole.
Trubisky had to deal with a hip pointer in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams two weekends ago, but he played last weekend.
''We've put ourselves in a position to get back to .500, and the only thing you can do is, let's put together that one game where it feels really good, where all three phases are playing well,'' Bears coach Matt Nagy said. ''We can't control two weeks from now. We can only control this game. That's kind of the mentality we have.''
Detroit wide receiver Marvin Hall (foot) was put on injured reserve Wednesday, and the Lions signed receiver Chris Lacy to the active roster from the practice squad. Defensive end Trey Flowers (concussion), defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand (ankle), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (knee/calf), tight end T.J. Hockenson (shoulder) and defensive back Tracy Walker (knee) are questionable for Thursday.
Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel and tight end Ben Braunecker are out for Chicago because of concussions.
This is the second consecutive year the Lions have hosted the Bears on Thanksgiving. Chicago won 23-16 last season, en route to a 12-4 record. The Bears won that game with Chase Daniel filling in for an injured Trubisky.
''I really wanted to play in that game last year. It stunk that I couldn't, but I'm excited to play on Thanksgiving this year,'' Trubisky said. ''It's one of those games that as a kid you always remember watching, the Thanksgiving game. Now we get an opportunity to play in it, and after missing last year, I'm definitely excited to play on Thursday.''
NEXT MAN UP
Quarterback isn't the only spot where the Lions are having their depth tested. With running back Kerryon Johnson on injured reserve, Detroit has turned to Bo Scarbrough, who made his NFL debut two weekends ago.
Scarbrough has 153 yards on 32 carries in two games.
WEAKNESS VS. WEAKNESS
One of the biggest concerns for the Lions is their defense, ranked 29th in yards allowed per game. That's despite the fact that Patricia arrived with a defensive background, having been a successful coordinator with New England.
But now Detroit welcomes Chicago, which has the NFL's 29th-ranked offense. In the first meeting between the teams this season, the Bears scored three touchdowns in a 5:47 stretch that spanned the end of the second quarter and the start of the third. That was all the scoring for Chicago - and it was all the Bears needed.
Don't blame the defense for Chicago's struggles. The Bears have held opponents under 20 points eight times this season, going 5-3 in those matches.
Sunday Morning Update: Week 7
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams caught 13 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns in the Packers 35-20 win over the Texans in Week 7. Adams simply could not be stopped, wreaking havoc all over the field with his team-high 16 targets in the game. The Packers offense simply is a different beast when Adams is on the field, as the star receiver now has two enormous fantasy performances under his belt this season. Adams heads into Week 8 with 36 receptions for 449 yards and four touchdowns through only four games this season.
Another week, another touchdown reception for Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller V, who now has one in five consecutive games. It seems like his Week 2 game where he wasn't targeted triggered some kind of change in this offense. Fuller finished Sunday's loss to Green Bay with three catches for 35 yards and the score. He wasn't as involved as he had been recently, but if Fuller can keep having such a nose for the end zone, he'll be a solid WR2 play moving forward for fantasy managers.
Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard got eight carries in Week 7, gaining just 16 yards. He added one catch, gaining six yards on his only target. The Cowboys offense as a whole is looking like a complete mess. Even if Pollard continues to get more carries than expected, he won't find much room to run behind a struggling Cowboys offensive line. He's still worth rostering behind Ezekiel Elliott, but isn't a starting option beyond the deepest fantasy leagues.
Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams came off the bench to carry the ball 19 times for 77 yards with one touchdown in the Packers 35-20 win over the Texans in Week 7. Williams added four catches for 37 yards in place of injured star running back Aaron Jones as the Packers cruised to victory. Williams punched in a one-yard carry for a touchdown in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory. There is a cautious expectation that Jones will return to the lineup next week but, either way, Williams represents one of the better handcuff options in fantasy moving forward.
Houston Texans wide receiver Randall Cobb led the team in both receptions and receiving yards in Sunday's loss to the Green Bay Packers. He finished with eight catches for 95 yards. Cobb's production in Houston has been inconsistent and he's usually been the No. 3 guy in the pecking order, but he's going to have some games where he steps into a larger role. This was one of them and showed why he's rosterable in deeper leagues, even if playing him can be a bit of a roller coaster.
New England Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry (head) was taken to the locker room in the first quarter of the team's Week 7 game against the San Francisco 49ers. Harry took a hard hit from 49ers safety Tarvarius Moore on an incomplete pass and was helped off the field. He had one catch for six yards on two targets before the injury. His return should be considered questionable.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed 29 of 36 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns along with a rushing touchdown. Brees was accurate throughout the contest, spreading the ball around to eight different receivers. The veteran even scored a rushing touchdown for the second straight game, pulling the old jump-over-the-line trick for a one-yard score. The lone mistake was a fumble, but that doesn't change the fact that Brees has now thrown for at least 300 yards or two scores in every game this season. He'll be in the conversation as a starting option in Week 8, despite the tough matchup against the Bears.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 23-of-34 passes for 283 yards and four touchdowns in the Packers 35-20 win over the Texans. The Packers cruised in this game as Rodgers enjoyed an excellent bounce back performance after failing to pass for a score in Week 6 against the Buccaneers. Rodgers connected with receiver Davante Adams time and time again and the veteran passer now has four touchdown passes in three games this season. Rodgers will head into next week against the Vikings with 1,657 passing yards on the season with 17 touchdowns and only two interceptions.
Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks didn't find the end zone in Sunday's loss to the Packers, breaking a two-game scoring streak. But Cooks did catch seven passes for 60 yards in the loss, putting up another solid line. Cooks has arguably been the biggest beneficiary of the team's in-season head coaching change and he should be considered a WR3 play going forward.
Washington Football Team running back J.D. McKissic handled five carries for 35 yards and added two catches for an additional 16 yards receiving. McKissic was efficient averaging seven yards-per-carry but was outshined by rookie Antonio Gibson who handled the lion's share of the rushing work for Washington. The game script in this game was negative for McKissic as Washington led early and didn't pass as much. As a result, McKissic was only targeted in the passing game twice after having six-plus catches in three straight games. McKissic is a startable option in PPR leagues, but he's not a must-roster player in most fantasy leagues through his Week 8 bye.
Houston Texans running back David Johnson had another middling day on the ground, rushing 14 times for 42 yards, but saw some solid usage in the receiving game, with four catches for 42 yards and a touchdown. Johnson remains the primary running back on this Texans team and seems to have a lock on that role moving, so while he's not as exciting a player as he was in Arizona, he's still going to be a low-end RB2 play at worse each week.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott couldn't do much in a game that was a huge struggle for the Cowboys offense. Andy Dalton struggled before being forced to leave the game leading to rookie Ben DiNucci struggling even more. Elliott ran the ball 12 times, gaining 45 scoreless yards. He only made one catch on two targets for six yards. Nothing went right for the Cowboys in this one, and it seems possible if not likely that things might get worse before they get any better. Still, Elliott should normally get the volume to still be a low-end RB1 in most games.
Detroit Lions running back D'Andre Swift posted only 48 all-purpose yards but scored a touchdown in the Lions 23-22 comeback win over the Falcons in Week 7. Swift carried the ball only nine times for 27 yards but punched in a three-yard touchdown in the first half. The rookie also added 21 receiving yards on four receptions one week after a monster fantasy performance. Veteran running back Adrian Peterson out-carried Swift 11-to-9 but the rookie continues to make inroads at more chances in games moving forward. Swift will have a tough test next week against the Colts in Week 8.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow finished with 406 yards and three touchdowns off of 35-for-47 passing during the narrow Week 7 loss to the Browns. He also added six carries for 34 yards and an additional score. The former LSU Tiger had issues with ball security in this one but continued to make his case to take home 2020 Rookie of the Year honors by logging his fifth 300-yard outing and his first 400-yard performance of the year. At this point, he should be considered a starting signal-caller in a majority of fantasy leagues, especially in Super Flex formats. However, he will arguably have his toughest task of the season in Week 8 against the Tennessee Titans, a team that will be looking to rebound from its first loss of the year next weekend.
Detroit Lions running back Adrian Peterson carried the ball 11 times for 29 yards in the Lions thrilling 23-22 last-second win over the Falcons in Week 7. Peterson struggled to get anything going in the ground game, averaging only 2.6 yards per carry. The veteran out-touched rookie D'Andre Swift 11-to-9 in the backfield but it was Swift who saw chances in the red zone. Peterson continues to be the lead back at the beginning of games but is quickly losing his status as the bell-cow for the Lions to Swift. Both running backs will have a tough time next week against the Colts in Week 8.
Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson handled 20 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Cowboys on Sunday. Gibson set new career-highs in carries and rush yards while scoring his fourth rushing touchdown of the season. It wasn't all good news for Gibson as he failed to catch his only target after seeing five targets for three straight weeks. On the other hand, Washington fed him the ball with a lead in the fourth quarter - a responsibility handled by Peyton Barber in their first win - so it was good to see the coaching staff trust Gibson to salt the game away. Gibson is a must-start running back in fantasy heading into Washington's bye week.
Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson caught five passes for 59 yards and a game-winning touchdown in the Lions 23-22 victory over the Falcons in Week 7. Hockenson's fourth touchdown of the season came with seconds remaining, hauling in an 11-yard pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford. The second-year tight end has emerged as a safety valve for Stafford in the passing game. Hockenson's ceiling is being capped off at around 4-to-5 catches for 40-60 yards but his presence in the red zone will keep him in the top-12 conversation among tight ends moving forward.
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson got off to a slow start in Sunday's loss to the Packers, but thanks to a late touchdown pass, he was able to manage a solid fantasy day. Watson was 29-for-39 throwing the football, finishing with 309 yards and two touchdowns. He added seven carries for 38 yards as well. This Houston defense is clearly an issue for the Texans, which should lead to the team playing from behind in the second half a lot over the rest of the year. That's bad for winning football games, but it will help Watson maintain high-end QB1 fantasy production.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. caught five passes for 80 yards in the Lions 23-22 win over the Falcons in Week 7. It has been a brutal season for the veteran but enjoyed his most active performance of the season. Jones made the most of his six targets and added a nice 23-yard reception in the game. This should not have fantasy teams racing to the waiver wire to pick up Jones but this is a positive development for a player who, in the past, has had fringe FLEX status at times the past few seasons.
Washington Football Team quarterback Kyle Allen had an efficient game in a blowout win over the Cowboys on Sunday. Allen went 15-for-25 passing with two touchdowns and no interceptions while adding 11 rushing yards. While it was a good game for Allen, he's not a quarterback to chase in fantasy. The Dallas defense has been bad this season allowing the most points-per-game in the NFL and while it was nice to see Allen take advantage of a good matchup, most fantasy managers should be able to find a QB with more upside. Washington will have a bye in Week 8 before a matchup with the Giants where Allen will be a QB2 for fantasy.