The Texans at Lions pick in the early Thanksgiving Day game is an interesting one. Detroit is more familiar than any team with playing early in the morning mid-week, but coach Matt Patricia also seems to have lost this Lions team, especially after being shut out 20-0 in Carolina last week.
Houston is a -3 favorite in this meeting, and they come to Motown having finally beat somebody not named the Jacksonville Jaguars last week in a 27-20 home win over New England as +2.5 underdogs. This game would seem to have the potential to be high-powered with a betting total of 51, but how much do you trust the Lions to contribute after laying the goose egg last week?
Another Big Day Upcoming From Watson?
The Lions defense struggled against Carolina’s P.J. Walker making his first career start in place of the injured Teddy Bridgewater last week. Walker did throw 2 INTs, but was also 24/34 for 258 yards and a TD. If a former XFL quarterback can have that type of success vs. Detroit, what’s in store for Deshaun Watson in the Texans at Lions pick?
Watson continues to show a savant-level mastery of the Texans offense, going 28/37 for 344 yards and 2 TD last week in the win over New England. It was the 4th time in the last 6 games that Watson has completed over 70% of his passes, and he now hasn’t tossed an INT in five straight. The Lions rank 25th in the NFL vs. the pass (30th vs. the run), and also just gave up a 390-yard outing to Washington’s Alex Smith two weeks ago.
The offense isn’t a concern for Romeo Crennel’s team on Thursday, as the Texans defense still has some questions to answer. Houston gave up 365 yards passing to Cam Newton last week, played in a rainy and windy game against Cleveland, allowed 304 yards to Jake Luton in his first NFL start, and were diced for 4 TDs by Aaron Rodgers over their last four games.
Can Stafford Have a Bounce Back Game?
There are opportunities for the Lions offense on Thursday, as despite all of Houston’s struggles against the pass lately it’s actually the run defense that ranks dead last in the league in rush yards allowed.
Can Matthew Stafford follow up Newton’s big performance last week against Houston? Stafford will be making his 10th career Thanksgiving start, and has averaged 300.6 yards passing during the holiday game. This will actually be the second matchup between Houston and Detroit on Thanksgiving with the Texans winning 34-31 in OT 2012 behind three sacks from J.J. Watt. Stafford did toss for 441 yards that game, but it was Detroit’s 9th straight loss on Thanksgiving.
Obviously Stafford couldn’t have been too good last week with Detroit getting shut out in Carolina, and the Lions QB was just 18/33 for 178 yards. Maybe being at home will give the Detroit offense a boost, as Stafford was 24/33 for 276 yards and 3 TD in his last game at Ford Field, and that was against Washington’s #1 ranked pass defense.
Free Texans at Lions Pick
60% of the public likes Houston in this one, and it will be exciting to see Watson and the Texans in action on Thanksgiving Day. Detroit put up some solid numbers against a good Washington defense in their last home game, but being shut out in Carolina looms large – especially if that game is the straw that broke the camel’s back on giving up on the current coaching Detroit regime.
Texans 37 – Lions 27
Free Pick: Houston -3