Matt Patricia finds himself on the hot seat. If the Detroit Lions don't turn things around during their annual Thanksgiving Day game, their coach may see his job security go up in flames.
Fans and the media are roasting Patricia and Lions general manager Bob Quinn after an ugly, 20-0 shutout on Sunday to the mediocre Carolina Panthers. Detroit (4-6) hosts the Houston Texans (3-7) at Ford Field on Thursday.
The Lions have lost three of their last four games and needed a last-second field goal to beat Washington in Week 10. They followed that up with their abominable offensive outing against a Carolina team that surrendered 46 points to Tampa Bay the previous week.
Matthew Stafford, who is dealing with a thumb injury, passed for just 178 yards and was sacked five times. The running game was held to 40 yards on 17 carries.
"For us, it's trying to get things right in a really short window," Patricia said. "That's the biggest focus for us right now."
Outsiders are focused on whether Patricia will last the season or even another game if his team doesn't perform well in the national spotlight. Patricia tried to deflect questions about his status.
"Our focus right now is on Houston," he said. "Any conversations that I've had with ownership, I always keep those private, you guys know that. So from that standpoint, we've just got a quick turnaround here, trying to get ready for Houston."
Some of the Lions' issues on Sunday were injury-related. Their best wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hip) and top running back D'Andre Swift (concussion), were sidelined. Golladay didn't practice on Tuesday but Swift did on a limited basis, suggesting he's cleared the league's protocols.
A victory would put Detroit back in the hunt for a wild card.
The Texans probably need to run the table to make the playoffs. They have played better of late, winning two of their last three games.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson carried them to a 27-20 over New England on Sunday. He threw for 344 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored on a 4-yard run.
"I would say the thing with this guy that's amazing is how competitive he is throughout the game," Patricia said. "It doesn't matter the situation, this guy always has the mentality that he's going to make a play to win it. And a lot of times, he does."
Watson has 40 completions of 20 yards or more, tied with Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes and just one off the league lead, held by Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Buffalo's Josh Allen.
"If we give Deshaun time, he can complete them just about anywhere," interim coach Romeo Crennel said. "He can complete them behind the line, intermediate area and deep. And we have receivers that can go deep and they will go get the ball."
Unlike the Lions, the Texans aren't used to playing on Thanksgiving. Their lone appearance came in 2012, a 34-31 overtime victory against Detroit.
"With the way our season has gone, the win (Sunday) gave them confidence, it lifted them up," Crennel said. "To follow it up with another win would be special, particularly on Thanksgiving Day because everybody remembers or has watched pro football on Thanksgiving."
Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah (shoulder) and defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand (groin) missed Tuesday's practice. Houston's biggest injury concern could be receiver Randall Cobb (toe).
--Field Level Media