Houston Texans at Detroit Lions (+3, 50.5)
The Detroit Lions have hosted a Thanksgiving Day game for 73 years. It has not gone their way recently. The Lions will be looking to snap an eight-game losing streak on Thanksgiving when they host the Houston Texans on Thursday. The Texans needed overtime to squeeze past lowly Jacksonville on Sunday but own the best record in the AFC at 9-1. Detroit has dropped two straight and sits in a familiar position - last in the NFC North.
The Lions lost to the Green Bay Packers last Thanksgiving - a game most notable for Ndamukong Suh’s stomp of an offensive lineman that ended up earning him a two-game suspension. Suh and company rank in the top 10 in the league defensively as far as yardage is concerned but sit in the bottom third in scoring defense, thanks in part to an offense that has left it in bad position with turnovers. The Lions can’t afford to do that against the Texans, who broke out for 43 points on Sunday and have yet to lose on the road.
TV: 12:30 p.m. ET, CBS.
LINE: Houston opened as big as 3.5 with most books dealing -3, which has remained steady. The total is set at 51 after moving up from 49.
THANKSGIVING HISTORY: Detroit is right there with mashed potatoes as a Thanksgiving staple. The Lions are 11-16 SU and ATS and 14-13 over/under on Thanksgiving since 1985, including going 0-8 SU and ATS since 2004 with a 2-6 over/under count in that span. This will be Houston's first Thanksgiving Day game in franchise history.
ABOUT THE TEXANS (9-1, 7-3 ATS): After winning two straight ugly games with its defense, Houston lit it up offensively on Sunday, totaling 640 yards. Matt Schaub passed for a career-high 527 yards and five touchdowns and Andre Johnson broke out of a slump in a big way with 273 yards and a TD on 14 receptions. The Texans had held their previous three opponents to 13 points or less and are entering the most difficult stretch of the schedule. Houston will play its next three games on the road, with trips to Tennessee and New England coming after Detroit. The Texans struggled in pass coverage against Jaguars backup Chad Henne on Sunday and will have to get that fixed before facing the Lions, who lead the league in passing offense.
ABOUT THE LIONS (4-6, 4-6 ATS): Passing is the one thing the offense has done consistently well this season, though quarterback Matt Stafford has only 12 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. Stafford and Calvin Johnson have been able to pile up the yardage but have struggled in the red zone. The Lions had to settle for two field goals inside the 10-yard line and Stafford had a pass intercepted in the end zone in Sunday’s 24-20 home loss to the Packers. Johnson caught the lone touchdown pass in that contest but, like Stafford, he also lost a fumble. Detroit might have to run the table to make the playoffs for a second straight season, and a schedule that includes Houston, Atlanta, Chicago and Green Bay over the last six games makes that a difficult proposition
* Texans are 15-5-2 ATS in their last 22 games overall.
* Lions are 5-11-1 ATS in their last 17 games overall.
* Under is 5-1 in Texans last six road games.
* Under is 7-3 in Lions last 10 Thursday games.
1. Lions OT Jeff Backus left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury and is questionable for Thursday. He has started 186 straight games.
2. Schaub’s 527-yard performance tied for the second-biggest passing day in NFL history. Norm Van Brocklin has held the record of 554 yards since Sept. 28, 1951.
3. Texans RB Arian Foster lost a fumble for the first time this season against the Jaguars.