The Detroit Lions didn't have the greatest showing in Week 11, being shut out by the Carolina Panthers 20-0. At 4-6, though, Detroit is still in the thick of the playoff race. A win against the 3-7 Houston Texans on Thanksgiving would improve their chances in the tight NFC playoff picture.
Even with a superior record and homefield advantage on Thursday, FanDuel Sportsbook has the Lions as 3-point underdogs against Houston, which is disrespectful to Detroit.
Detroit is currently dealing with a laundry list of injuries to their offensive weapons, so their poor performance against Carolina is understandable. Even if many of those players aren't ready to go on a short week, the Lions' healthy players are in for a better matchup against the Texans.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford continues to be the soul of the team, even with a lingering thumb injury. He has had a solid season, ranking 13th in yards (2,581) and 14th in passing touchdowns (17). Stafford racked up 276 yards and 3 TDs in his team's win against the Washington Football Team in Week 10 before suffering the injury.
Despite his ailments, the QB is set up to feast against a Texans defense that is allowing 252.4 passing yards per game (11th most among teams this season). With many of his options likely sidelined, the connection between Stafford and wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. will be key. Jones grabbed 8 catches for 96 yards and 1 TD against Washington in that Week 10 win, showcasing his ability to shoulder the offensive load.
The Texans are also allowing the most rushing yards per game (159.3) this season, which is good news for the Lions. Even if D'Andre Swift can't go, this is the opportunity for Adrian Peterson or Kerryon Johnson to show what they're capable of.
Houston's defensive woes give the Lions a chance to find a way to win on Thursday.
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