HOUSTON TEXANS (9-1)
at DETROIT LIONS (4-6)
Kickoff: Thursday, 12:30 p.m. EDT
Line: Houston -3, Total: 50.5
The Texans try to remain perfect on the road when they visit slumping Detroit on Thanksgiving Day.
The Lions havenít had a happy Thanksgiving in a while, as theyíve lost eight Thanksgiving Classics in a row, SU and ATS, and they havenít come within 11 points in any of those games. This season, Detroit has been victimized by slow starts and its own conservative play-calling. They Lions are just 2-2 SU and 1-3 ATS at home. Houstonís previously dominant defense was a dud last week, allowing 458 yards and 37 points to the lowly Jaguars at home. But they did prove they could win a shootout, racking up 640 yards of offense in the 43-37 win. QB Matt Schaub threw for 527 yards (T-2nd in NFL history) and 5 TD, and could feast on Detroitís banged up secondary.
Can the Lions end their Thanksgiving Day futility on Thursday? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts picks for every NFL game throughout the 2012 season and playoffs.
The Texans have been outstanding on the road this season, going 4-0 SU (3-1 ATS) with the defense allowing a mere 13.7 PPG and 257 total YPG to the host teams. But Houston's defense has a lot of work to do after surrendering a season-high 458 yards to Jacksonville last week, including 354 passing yards to second-string QB Chad Henne. Detroit's passing offense leads the NFL (302 YPG), so the Texans certainly have their work cut out for them. On the offensive side of the ball, Schaub will continue to rely on his top receiver, Andre Johnson, who is coming off a 14-catch, 273-yard performance in the wild 43-37 win over Jacksonville. The 273 yards is the most in the NFL since 2000. But the Texans remain a run-heavy offense, ranking eighth in the NFL with 137 rushing YPG. Arian Foster leads the league with 10 rushing touchdowns and has 37 more carries than anybody else in the NFL (24.9 per game). Houston's offense has been careless over the past two weeks, turning the football over five times.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford ranks fourth in the NFL in passing yards (2,988), but is just 21st in passer rating with a paltry 12 TD and 10 INT in his 10 games. He's also been sacked 22 times and the Texans are tied for eighth in the NFL with 27 sacks, led by DL J.J. Watt who has 11.5 sacks for the season. Stafford and top WR Calvin Johnson are starting to get on the same page, as Johnson has racked up three straight 100-yard receiving games and now leads the NFL with 1,117 receiving yards. He has been battling knee and thumb injuries, but he is expected to start on Thursday. Detroit's rushing offense has been nothing to write home about, ranking 23rd in the NFL with 99.9 yards per game. With Houston ranking second in the NFL in run defense (86 YPG), the game plan for Detroit will be a heavy passing attack. With the Lions committing four turnovers last week, they are now tied for third in the NFC in most giveaways (18).