The Detroit Lions look to get back on track in their annual Thanksgiving Day Game. The bad news for the Lions is they face the impressive 9-1 Houston Texans. The game is just another in the tough second half of the season that sees the Lions take on eight strong opponents, seven with winning records.
A 24-20 loss Sunday to the Green Bay Packers was the fourth of six losses decided by seven points or less by the Lions. The Lions have lost six games by a combined 38 points. The Texans won a close battle with the 1-9 Jacksonville Jaguars 43-37 in overtime.
The Lions still rank first overall in passing yards per game with 301.8. The rushing yards average of 99.9 has the Lions ranked 23rd in the NFL. On defense the Lions rank 8th in passing (214.0) and 16th in rushing (114.1).
The Lions offense faces a Texans team that ranks in the top ten in both passing (7th) and rushing (2nd). The high powered offense led by Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson will need to put up impressive numbers, similar to what Chad Henne and Justin Blackmon did on Sunday against the Texans.
On defense, the Lions top ten passing defense will need to slow down Matt Schaub, who threw for 527 yards and five touchdowns in Sunday’s win. On the ground, the Lions will need to control Arian Foster, who is coming off a poor 77 yard 2.8 average performance.
The Lions defense may get a boost from the return of Louis Delmas at safety. Delmas has been practicing for the first time in several weeks and is questionable for Thursday’s matchup. Jeff Backus, the Lions left tackle, is also questionable and may end his long consecutive start streak. One player who will not be playing for the Lions is wide receiver Titus Young. The second year receiver has been benched by the Lions after selfish play throughout the season.
This is a winnable game for the Lions. Despite a 4-6 record, the Lions have been in every game they played up until the end. The Lions got an early lead against the Packers but failed to continue to put up points in the second half. Look for Detroit to be aggressive and gamble early to get to an early lead.
Aside from the NFL game, the Lions will welcome Detroit native Kid Rock as the halftime performer. The nationally televised game will showcase Kid Rock as he performs his new song “Detroit, Michigan”. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet founding member and saxophone player Alto Reed will play the “Star Spangled Banner” prior to Thursday’s game.