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The annual Thanksgiving day tradition of NFL Football will once again be celebrated in almost every home in America on Thursday November 22, 2012. First game will feature the one loss Houston Texans traveling to Detroit to take on a Lions desperate to saver their slim playoff chances.
Looks like Houston was caught looking ahead to Thanksgiving day clash as Texans barely pulled off Week 11 Overtime win against terrible Jags team. Houston has shown they can play with any team in NFL but can they can they get their focus back on short week. Texans offense is one of few teams that wins with the running game. Nearly the entire Houston offense is set up with the Texans ability to run the ball. Houston defense is our top AFC defense but they will be tested against one of the passing offenses including best NFL WR Calvin Johnson. Last time Texans faced elite passing team the defense was shredded as Packers threw it anywhere they wanted.
Lions feel as they have given away at least three wins this season and now face a must win game on Thanksgiving. A loss by Detroit and most likely any playoff chances would go out the window. Plenty of blame to go around in Detroit but a poor running game and terrible secondary seem to be the consensus main culprits. Offensively the Lions must put their team on Stafford and Johnson shoulders as the passing game will have to carry this team if they are to win out. The Lions defensive line need to help pick up the slack on defense as the strength of the D lies in the front seven.
Texans might be the most solidly built team in the NFL, realistically Houston has very little flaws. Texans best running team in the NFL will dominate on Thursday as Lions will have no answers on defense. Once Lions try to stack the box, to stop the run, Matt Schuab will hit Owen Daniels and Andre Johnson on play actions passes over the top. Lions offense will struggle as Texans great pass rush will disrupt Stafford's chances of finding Calvin Johnson down field. Texans win going away by double digits.
Korner was baffled by what he saw at some of the online shops, when early spreads had Houston favored by only three points. The Texans were nearly knocked off by the lowly Jaguars Sunday but Houston – at 9-1 SU – is still one of the best teams in the NFL.
“Detroit is just 4-6 and not the team everyone expected this season,” says Korner, who sent out a suggested spread of Houston -6. “I don’t understand why this came out at three. Come Thursday, who do you think everyone is going to be playing?”
Houston’s fourth-ranked defense had an uncharacteristic day last weekend, allowing the Jaguars’ second-stringer Chad Henne to pass for 354 yards and four touchdowns in a near overtime upset. Needless to say, defending the pass was priority No. 1 for the Texans during the short week.
“We didn’t play up to our standard,” Texans’ head coach Gary Kubiak told the Houston Chronicle. “We had an opportunity to start fast as a team, but then we started giving up big plays. We had a few assignment issues, which is unusual for us. That’s something we’ve got to fix. We had a couple of opportunities to make plays, but we didn’t make them.”
Detroit had its hands full with WR Titus Young last Sunday and will bench the second-year wideout after he was openly unhappy about his role in the offense and didn’t complete routes in last week’s loss to Green Bay. That leaves the Lions thin at receiver, allowing Houston to concentrate on Calvin Johnson.
Megatron was invisible in crunch time versus the Packers and was thrown to just once in the final three possessions, which came on the final play of the game. Green Bay locked up Johnson with a two-man trap in the secondary. Quarterback Matt Stafford was also sacked five times by the Packers and now faces the sack-happy Texans, who have 27 QB kills this year.
From Elias: Matt Schaub's game-winning 48-yard TD pass to Andre Johnson gave him 527 passing yards for the game and climaxed the Texans' rally from a 14-point deficit to a 43-37 overtime victory over the Jaguars. The only other player in NFL history who threw for 500 yards and rallied his team to victory from at least 14 points down in the fourth quarter was Boomer Esiason, who did that with the Cardinals in 1996. Esiason passed for 522 yards in a win against the Redskins at RFK Stadium, a 37-34 overtime decision in which Washington led 34-20 in the fourth quarter.
1. Why Houston will cover the spread: The Texans will cover the spread if they can find a way to cover WR Calvin Johnson. Though the Jacksonville Jaguars moved the ball well last week against Houston, if not for the play of WR Justin Blackmon, that game never would have been close. It’s not the first time that a receiver had a big game against this defense though, as WR Jordy Nelson had three scores against the Texans as well when they played against the Green Bay Packers.
2. Why Detroit will cover the spread: The Lions will cover the spread if they stop shooting themselves in the foot. Last week against the aforementioned Packers, they fumbled three times, committed seven penalties, and threw two picks. The week before? Two fumbles, a pick, and six penalties. The special teams unit has had meltdowns, and both sides of the ball are committing just a number of insanely stupid penalties that are just killing the team’s effort. Take those away, and the Lions would probably be in contention for the NFC North title, and not fighting for their playoff lives.
If styles make fights, then the Lions and Texans should put on quite a show. It's impossible to find two offenses more philosophically different.
The Lions have more passing attempts than any team in football. They are 24th in rushes.
The Texans have more rushing attempts than any team in football. They are 21st in passes.
Ironically, even if the Texans get off to an early lead, it will suit the offensive structure of both teams. If the Lions take the lead, both teams will likely have to play against type.
Biggest Advantage for the Texans
Houston's offensive line is one of the better pass-protecting units in the game. Contrary to popular expectation, the Texans are much better at pass blocking than run blocking.
A lot of that has to do with the play of Derek Newton, who has been serviceable in protection, but runs to his side have not been effective.
Detroit's defensive line is also much better against the run than the pass. This is a problem because they have one of the worst overall pass defenses in football. Conventional yardage-based rankings don't reveal how putrid they are, but advanced metrics tell the true story.
If the Texans decide to come out throwing, they could have success. The Lions don't defend tight ends well.
Matt Schaub ought to have plenty of time to pick his targets on Thursday.
Biggest Advantage for the Lions
The Lions having a dynamic passing offense, but under normal circumstances that wouldn't frighten the Texans.
However, as noted earlier, Joseph is hobbled with a bad hamstring, so having to play three days early could be a major disadvantage.
Houston is normally outstanding against the top receiver on a team, but if Joseph can't play or is limited, they could be vulnerable.
Houston Will Win If...
...the Texans can get pressure on Matt Stafford.
If it can can keep from getting torched on big plays downfield, and make the Lions play a grind-it-out game, Houston should prevail.
The Texans' passing offense is awkward and unconventional, but that doesn't mean it's not effective. Expect to see big doses of Owen Daniels and James Casey as they'll force the Lions' linebackers to be active in coverage.
Houston wants to prevent a shoot-out. If the game is played in the low 20s, the Texans will win.
Detroit Will Win If...
...Joseph doesn't play.
Joseph is the lynch pin for the Houston defense. If he misses the game or plays but is significantly hobbled, the Lions may be able throw all over the Texans.
If they can force the score up into the 30s, they'll be playing to their strength.
The Lions can take away the Houston run attack, but to win, they'll have to force Schaub to throw under pressure.