How to watch Bears vs Lions Thanksgiving NFL game

Detroit Lions D'Andre Swift
Detroit Lions running back D'Andre Swift (No. 32) (Image credit: Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

Thanksgiving is full of traditions, and one of them is that the Detroit Lions play some football. This year’s opening Turkey Day matchup will see the Chicago Bears take on their NFC North rival Lions at 12:30 p.m. ET on Fox.

Bears vs Lions is the first of three games set to take place on Thanksgiving. Also on the docket is the Raiders vs Cowboys (Dallas being another team that always plays on Thanksgiving) and the Thursday Night Football game of Bills vs Saints. NFL week 12 will then continue on its normal day, Sunday, with a slate of games that includes Steelers vs Bengals, Titans vs Patriots, Rams vs Packers, plus the Sunday Night Football matchup between the Browns and Ravens, and capped off with Seahawks against the Washington Football Team on Monday Night Football.

Read on to find out how to start your Thanksgiving celebration with Bears vs Lions.

Bears vs Lions matchup preview

NFL fans will get to ease into their Thanksgiving football viewing with Bears vs Lions, as both teams are not exactly among the league’s best.

The Chicago Bears are in the midst of a five game losing streak, which has brought their overall record to 3-7. Bears fans won’t even get the benefit of seeing how their rookie quarterback Justin Fields is progressing this week, as Fields injured his ribs recently and is not expected to start against the Lions; Andy Dalton will likely start in his place. Whoever has been at quarterback, the Bears have been among the league’s worst offenses, ranking 31st overall in yards per game (287.9) and 29th in points per game (16.3).

While not the Monsters of the Midway, the Bears defense has been the bright spot for this team throughout the season. Ranking 11th in total defense, the Bears D has been able to keep this team in games and have gotten to the opposing quarterback a league-leading 31 times (Robert Quinn has 10 of his own). If they’ve struggled it’s been in creating turnovers, with just 10 on the season.

The story has been worse for Detroit, however. The Lions are winless on the season, with only a tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers keeping them from an 0-10 record. While there certainly have been some blow outs, the Lions have also had a few games come down to bad luck as well.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Lions hope that quarterback Jared Goff will be available to play against the Bears. The former first-overall pick hasn’t lived up to that resume for most of his career, but the week 11 game against the Browns showed how much better he is for this team than back-up QB Tim Boyle. Though if the Lions want to earn their first win of the year they will likely need a big game from running back D’Andre Swift. Not only is Swift the team’s leading rusher (555 yards) but he is also their second-leading receiver with 420 yards.

Oddsmakers have made the Bears 3.5 road favorites for the game.

How to watch Bears vs Lions in the U.S.

The Bears vs Lions Thanksgiving game will air to a national audience at 12:30 p.m. ET on Fox. Fox is one of the four major networks in the U.S. that has a local station serving essentially all TV markets and as a result included as part of any traditional cable/satellite pay-TV subscription service. Other options for viewing the game include using a TV antenna to receive the local Fox station signal or subscribing to a live TV streaming service that provides viewers with their local Fox station, like FuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV

For those viewers who are signed up for either a traditional pay-TV or live TV streaming service, they can also watch Bears vs Lions on either the Fox Sports website or the Fox Sports Live app by using their service’s login credentials.

Traveling or prepping your Thanksgiving meal and not able to watch Bears vs Lions? NFL Game Pass gives subscribers (now $9.99 per month) the ability to watch replays of all NFL games on-demand, either of the full TV broadcast or a condensed version that features just the plays. Live games are not available through NFL Game Pass for U.S. subscribers.

How to watch Bears vs Lions from anywhere in the world

NFL Game Pass is available as an option for certain international viewers. Check the NFL Game Pass website for more information, but the key thing that differentiates NFL Game Pass’ international plan is that it provides subscribers access to both live games and on-demand replays.

Yet another option to watch the game from anywhere in the world is a virtual private network, also known as a VPN. A VPN allows you to route all of your internet traffic through a specific set of servers in a specific country. The one caveat here is that you need to be able to trust your VPN provider, because all of your traffic — encrypted as well as unencrypted — is going to be going through that VPN. For that, we've long been fans of ExpressVPN.  


ExpressVPN is one of the easiest and affordable ways to watch what you want from anywhere you want to watch it. Plus it'll help keep your network traffic away from any prying eyes on public networks.

And it's a great way to keep up with action from anywhere in the world.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.