The Houston Texans (9-1) travel to Ford Field on Thanksgiving afternoon to take on the Detroit Lions (4-6) in a game that features two teams that both possess top 10 offenses and defenses. But how this one eventually plays out is anyone’s guess.
The Texans are coming off a surprising 43-37 overtime win at home over the Jacksonville Jaguars, one of the NFL’s worst teams. Though the score is a shocker in itself, the more startling tidbit is the fact that Chad Henne threw for a career-high four touchdowns while adding 354 passing yards.
Thursday’s matchup with Matthew Stafford and the league’s best passing attack certainly isn’t a recipe to get back on the right track either. However, the quarterback-wide receiver combo of Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson are up to the challenge after last week's record-breaking performance.
Riding a two-game skid, the Lions find themselves in a must-win situation against the Texans. While it seems like a daunting task on the surface, Detroit is one of the most Jekyll-and-Hyde teams in the NFL, so anything is possible.
The biggest key for the Lions will be protecting the football, as it is with any team. But if Matthew Stafford and Co. can mitigate their turnovers, they have enough firepower to keep up on the scoreboard.
Here is one bold prediction for each team, along with fantasy football "beast or bust" candidates in Thursday’s matchup:
J.J. Watt Tallies 4 Sacks, Storms by 49ers Aldon Smith for NFL Lead
If Thursday goes as scripted, the Texans will control this game from the start, and the Lions will be forced to throw the ball a ton. Houston defensive end J.J. Watt is licking his chops to get after Stafford.
The Lions have allowed a middle-of-the-pack 22 sacks in the season, but Watt is one of the most dynamic pass-rushers in the league. His 11.5 sacks are third in the league, and he has a chance to add to that total in a major way on Thanksgiving Day.
Matthew Stafford Throws for 350 Yards and 3 Touchdowns
If Henne can unload on the Texans defense, Stafford might come out of Thursday's game looking like the best quarterback to ever hit an NFL field.
The Texans feature a stout defense against both the pass and the run, but it is in the trenches they excel. With cornerback Johnathan Joseph hobbled, the Lions would do well to attack Houston's suddenly suspect secondary.
Fantasy Beast: Arian Foster
While Houston ran the ball 35 times in last week's win, it seemed the entire game was played through the air because of Schaub's 55 pass attempts for 527 yards and five touchdowns. Though this game has the ability to be played similarly, the Texans need to get back to normalcy.
The Lions are respectable against the run, allowing 114.1 yards per game and only three touchdowns on the season. But Texans running back Arian Foster will have plenty of chances to alter those totals in a big way.
Fantasy Bust: Mikel Leshoure
Lions running back Mikel Leshoure is in a much different position than Foster come Thursday.
The Texans possess the league's second-best run defense, allowing just 85.6 yards per game. They have also yielded zero touchdowns on the ground this season as well.
After missing all of 2011 with a torn Achilles, Leshoure is having a solid bounce-back campaign in 2012. However, Thursday's matchup will do nothing to help his cause.
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