Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Today the Lions welcome the Houston Texans into Ford Field for one of the most historic traditions in football the Thanksgiving Game in Detroit. Heading into the game there are two schools of thought in determining the eventual outcome of the match up, one being the Texans will crush Detroit simply because they are the tremendously superior team. Second, Houston is becoming bored and looking to the playoffs with Detroit seemingly having a chance. For example, Jacksonville giving the Texans a scare last week at Reliant Stadium.
Of those two ways of thinking however, Houston being the more superior team is the only option that is based on actual fact. The Texans are the most balanced team in football dominating on defense and an ability to run or pass the ball at will. They have one of the league’s best margins in points scored (25 a game) to points allowed (18 a game) while Matt Schaub is quietly the best unknown QB in the League only to be overshadowed by big named superstars like Andre Johnson and Arian Foster. And speaking of Arian Foster the Texans are in possession of the AFC’s best rushing attack all while leading the conference in return yards.
Meanwhile J.J. Watt out of Wisconsin, has become one of the most feared defenders in the league leading a relentless pass rush and highly feared defensive attack with an +8 turnover ratio.
Knowing all this makes it hard to mount a reason why Detroit would have a chance in this game.
For the Lions who were once a powerhouse on Thanksgiving have dropped their last 8 Turkey Day match ups having last won in 2003 against Green Bay. This game much like the season thus far is on the teams leader Matthew Stafford. How he plays and the team’s responds to him should be pretty telling. He is at a point to own up to the erratic play and take the natural progression of an NFL QB.
I’m not saying it’s all on Stafford as his team has let him down more times than not, but a QB in the NFL is the table setter.
With Titus Young sent home and his future TBD, the chances of the Lions going 6-0 to finish the season are slim to no none. Simply put this final stretch of the season Detroit needs to find out what they do have going into next year.
- Is Schwartz the guy to coach this team next year?
- Is Linehan the offensive coordinator next year?
- How close are the Lions to a Super Bowl?
- Who do we want back? Kyle Vanden Bosch, Louis Delmas, De Andre Levy, Cliff Avril, Corey Williams are all five starters that need to be considered while there being no real starter across the field from Chris Houston at corner.
So essentially this is more than a regular season game on Thursday, this is the Lions’ future.
Now one thing I’m not going to do is throw a bunch of offensive numbers at you looking to try and wow you or mislead you in any way. A deeper look will tell you the Lions put up a ton of yards because they are always playing from behind. With all that being said Detroit has been unable to translate the yards into points. As far as the defense goes I can’t really get on them too much as Gunther Cunningham has had little given to him to help improve it, yet the Lions defense has played above my expectations. My only complaint is their inability to create turnovers which could be attributed to the lack of talent on that side of the ball.
If Stafford is sharp and the Lions do not try to force the run into the mouth of the Houston defense, Detroit might have a chance. I do however think Houston is going to tear apart the Lions defense with a steady dose of running the ball and play action passing resulting in huge gains for Schaub and Johnson.
Sorry Lions fans but we’re in for another Thanksgiving blowout…
Houston 44, Detroit 20