NFL football and Thanksgiving Day go together like two peas in a pod, and this year’s contest between the Detroit Lions (4-6) and Houston Texans (9-1) is going to be perfect way for fans to kick off the holiday.
While the Lions have been showcased on Turkey Day since what seems like the dawn of time, the Texans are gearing up for their first Thanksgiving game in the short history of the franchise.
Houston will be a favorite going into the game, but recently suffered a scare against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. It took overtime heroics for the Texas-based squad to overcome the opposition.
Detroit, who hasn’t won a Thanksgiving Classic since 2003, will be looking to turn its luck around and get back on the road to .500. This team is currently down, but they aren’t out of playoff contention just yet.
Keep reading to find out where to watch this game, who to keep an eye on, a prediction on the final score and much more.
When: Thursday, Nov. 22 at 12:30 p.m. ET
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Radio: NFL Audio Pass
Betting Line: Texans -3.5, Over/Under 49 (via ScoresAndOdds.com)
RB Ben Tate, QST, Hamstring
DB Johnathan Joseph, QST, Hamstring
NT Shaun Cody, PRB, Ribs/Back
TE Owen Daniels, PRB, Back
WR Kevin Walter, PRB, Groin
DB Drayton Florence, QST, Concussion
DT Ndamukong Suh, QST, Knee
DE Cliff Avril, QST, Back/Concussion
WR Calvin Johnson, QST, Knee
WR Titus Young, OUT, Disciplinary
S Louis Delmas, DBT, Knee
OT Jeff Backus, QST, Hamstring
Texans Player to Watch: Andre Johnson
Remember when the Texans' star WR would go in the first round of fantasy football drafts and seemed to dominate games on a regular basis? He reminded us that he still has that ability this past Sunday in an absolutely dominant performance against the Jags.
Johnson finished the day with 14 receptions (on 19 targets) for 273 yards and a game-winning touchdown in overtime.
While greedy fantasy owners may have liked to see more scores from the 31-year-old, what Johnson did was absolutely insane. Considering he only eclipsed the 100-yard mark twice prior to this in 2012, it seemed that Johnson found a way to rejuvenate himself and just in time for a clutch, mind-blowing day.
However, we unfortunately don’t foresee Johnson being able to put similar numbers on Thursday afternoon with a short week of rest and the Lions' secondary a much more competitive group than Jacksonville’s.
Expect to see Arian Foster get back to work, and Matt Schaub return to game managing, but Johnson could still break out for at least one score on Turkey Day.
Lions Player to Watch: Calvin Johnson
The Jags proved that the Texans' pass rush and secondary is beatable in Week 11, and the Lions will look to capitalize this coming Thursday.
If rookie WR Justin Blackmon was able to go off for 236 yards and a score on seven receptions, just imagine what a Pro Bowl, possibly Hall of Fame receiver like Megatron will do if Matthew Stafford has time to throw.
We predict the Lions' game plan will be to get Johnson involved early and often, as he’s a game-changer and could be the difference-maker on Thanksgiving.
Prediction: Texans 27 – Lions 20
Which team will win the Thanksgiving Classic?
The Houston Texans are going to improve to a stunning 10-1 record as we all prepare to stuff our faces on this glorious upcoming holiday.
While we would love to see the Lions actually win at home on Thanksgiving, they just don’t have what it takes to compete with the cream of the AFC, and will once again take a shellacking at Ford Field on Turkey Day.