The Detroit Thanksgiving football tradition started way back in 1934. At the time, it was seen as a gimmick to get people going to go games. That gimmick turned into an annual tradition that is still going strong to this day. There were calls to get the Lions removed from this spot because of how bad they’ve been, notably in the 2000’s during the Matt Millen era, but it wasn’t anything to take seriously. As long as the Ford family wants a Thanksgiving Day game, the Lions will be hosting a Thanksgiving game. The Lions have played on Thanksgiving since 1934, but they have yet to play in a Super Bowl. They won the NFL Championship in 1957 before it was named the Super Bowl. In fact, the Lions were a powerhouse in the 1950’s with three NFL Championships.
The Lions own a record of 37-41-2 all-time on Thanksgiving. This being their “Super Bowl”, the Lions typically try hard to put on a good show in front of the home crowd. However, there is going to be no home crowd this season. Not in any capacity as per the governor’s order. The Lions were playing in front of family and friends for a few weeks, but even that has been called off. This might be the last Thanksgiving game that Matt Patricia is a part of with the Lions.
He appears to be on borrowed time, and unless he figures it out quickly, Patricia will be looking for a new job in the offseason. Pressure was alleviated off Patricia following victories over the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons. Since then, the Lions have gone 1-3 with their only win a 3-point victory over Washington. They nearly blew that game, though, and the Lions probably should have easily cleared Washington instead of needing a 59-yard field goal by Matt Prater. They’re coming off an embarrassing 20-0 loss against the Carolina Panthers versus backup P.J. Walker last week. That drops the Lions to 4-6 on the season.
The Houston Texans head into Detroit on Thanksgiving with a record of 3-7. It’s been a disappointing season for the Texans as well. Deshaun Watson has been running for his life behind a terrible offensive line, and no help from DeAndre Hopkins. Oh wait, Bill O’Brien dealt Hopkins away to the Arizona Cardinals. It made no sense then, and doesn’t make any sense now. That was ultimately one of the catalysts for him getting fired. With the Colts and Titans well ahead in the AFC South at 7-3, the Texans are effectively done for. This would constitute a bad loss for both teams today at Ford Field. Head below for our free Texans vs. Lions props for November 26, 2020.
A tradition since 1934.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) November 26, 2020
Darren Fells Receiving Yards
It didn’t make much sense for the Texans to give away Deshaun Watson’s favorite receiver. They had to believe that Will Fuller was going to take an additional leap forward, and adding Brandin Cooks was enough to make up for losing DeAndre Hopkins.
But with a bad offensive line, the decision was all the more baffling. The Texans have scored 22.7 points per game this season, which is not what you would expect from an offense led by Watson. They are coming off a much needed win over the New England Patriots, 27-20, but the Texans might be too far behind for it to matter.
Tight end Darren Fells played briefly with the Detroit Lions in 2017. He played in 16 games and played a limited role with 17 receptions and 177 yards. Fells was signed by the Texans in 2019 and has played a bigger role, especially in the red zone where he has cashed in often.
Fells recorded 7 touchdowns, along with 341 yards receiving on 34 receptions last year. He is on pace to break that career-high of 341 yards this season. Fells goes into Thursday with 275 yards on 19 receptions. He has also caught 3 touchdowns from Watson.
Note that Fells has recorded at least 19 yards receiving in seven of ten games. In four of his previous five starts, Fells has gone over 18 yards. This total looks a bit too low from what I’ve seen from Fells this season. A play on the OVER looks in order at Ford Field.
Deshaun Watson Rushing Yards
A bad offensive line will force a quarterback to move around a lot, maybe more than they would hope for. Deshaun Watson has had to run and save himself on more than one occasion. Perhaps if DeAndre Hopkins wasn’t absent from the offense, he’d have a wide receiver to throw 50-50 balls up to, but it’s been difficult. Watson has passed for 20 touchdowns and 5 interceptions on 68.93% completions.
It’s crazy what he’s been able to do stats wise for himself, but it hasn’t equated to big numbers on the scoreboard or in the standings. Watson has been effective rushing the football as well. He’s gained 269 yards and 2 touchdowns on 5 yards per carry. He ran for 413 yards and 7 touchdowns a season ago in 2019.
Watson is not Lamar Jackson fast, but he doesn’t have to be to pick up solid yardage on the ground. He’s more of an elusive and smart runner in the same way Rusell Wilson is. Watson has run for at least 33 yards in four straight games. He’s galloped for 38, 50, 36, and 36 yards through those four outings. I will take my chances on Watson rushing for at least 33 yards on Thursday in Detroit.
Matthew Stafford Passing Yards
The Houston Texans have holes on both sides of the ball. The offense failing to put up big numbers has been a concern, but the bigger concern has to be their defense. With a defense that has conceded 411.7 yards per game, the Texans can’t win many games like that. 411.7 yards is next to last in the NFL. The only team that has allowed more yards is the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks have an offense that can keep up and score at will, though. Houston doesn’t have the same luxury. The Texans have also been terrible at forcing turnovers with only 2 interceptions.
Matthew Stafford is coming off a brutal performance against the Carolina Panthers. He threw for just 178 yards and no touchdowns. A week earlier against Washington, Stafford connected for 3 touchdowns and 276 passing yards. It was the third game in four outings that Stafford gained more than 275 yards through the air. Coming off his worst performance of the season, expect Stafford to respond with a much better game on Thanksgiving. He has the defense to be able to do it against today.