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The Cheat Sheet: Can the Lions limit Deshaun Watson on Thanksgiving?

Houston Texans s vs. Detroit Lions game preview and prediction.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The last time the Houston Texans and Detroit Lions met on Thanksgiving was 2012. As I rewatched that eight-year-old game it was shocking how little has changed over the years.I don’t want to be full of doom and gloom (it is Thanksgiving after all), but the facts are the facts.Sure, the players are different. The coaches have changed. Heck, the entire organization’s philosophy has been overhauled.

And yet, the results are still the same.

Just like in 2012, the Lions are entering this game with a 4-6 record. And like most recent Thanksgiving Day games, they’re on the outside looking in at the playoff hunt.

Like always, I’ll root for the Lions to win. Pumpkin pie tastes better with a side of victory. But I’m also a realist. The Lions are coming off of one of their most embarrassing losses in the last decade. While the Texans actually seem to have found a pulse behind Deshaun Watson.

Both teams don’t have much to play for. The only real thing worth fighting for is to avoid embarrassment in front of a national audience.

Let’s hope Matt Patricia and the Lions can pull it together on a short week. Although history isn’t in their favor.

New England Patriots v Houston Texans Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Opponent snapshot

The Texans are where most Lions fans wish their team was right now. No, not the three wins they’ve cobbled together. But the fact they’ve already cleaned house, firing their de facto GM and head coach (and former Patriots coordinator) Bill O’Brien.

And even though Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia are still around, both of these teams are trending toward heading into the offseason in very similar situations.

New England Patriots v Houston Texans Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Texans’ biggest threat

Deshaun Watson

Not everything is bad on the Texans. In fact, Watson has been pretty solid despite getting his best receiver (DeAndre Hopkins) traded away from him earlier this year.

Here’s Watson’s stat line over the last five games:

  • 70.4 percent completion percentage
  • 11 touchdowns
  • 0 interceptions
  • 115.1 quarterback rating

The Lions struggled to contain P.J. Walker a week ago. If the Lions can’t limit Watson, they can start warming up Turkey early because they’re going to get cooked.

New England Patriots Vs. Houston Texans at NRG Stadium Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Texans’ weak link

Run defense

The Lions hope to have D’Andre Swift back for Thursday’s game and they’re going to need him. Without him in the lineup the run offense looked pitiful even going against a weak Panthers run defense.

The Texans rank at the bottom of the NFL in run defense – 32nd in yards per carry (5.1) and 32nd in yards per game (159.3).

Whether the Lions can exploit those weaknesses is a whole other story.

Bottom line

We’ve got two teams limping to the finish line. The Lions have played awful in front of an empty Ford Field this season and I don’t expect that to change on Thanksgiving.

Give me the Texans.


Lions 17 Texans 28

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