The NFL will continue their long tradition with the Thanksgiving Day lineup Thursday with a trio of games. Detroit, which has played host every Thanksgiving since 1934 (with an exception from 1939-44) hosts Houston. Dallas, which has played host every season since 1966 (except for 1975, 77) hosts RG3 and rival Washington. Then in the nightcap, the Jets will line up against New England and look for redemption.
Here’s what to expect in each contest.
Game one, 12:30 EST: (9-1) Houston at (4-6) Detroit—The Lions come into this game in dire need of a win. Detroit, which lost three of its first four games, has clearly underachieved this season and one more loss will probably spell the end of their playoff hopes.
Quarterback Matt Stafford, who threw for more than 5,000 yards last season, is off his pace a bit and has just 12 TDs through 10 games after finding the end zone 41 times last year.
Offense isn’t their only problem though as the Lions have surrendered 24.6 points per game—good for 23rd in the league.
Houston, meanwhile, hangs their hat on defense. Sophomore defensive end J.J. Watt is third in the league with 11.5 sacks though he has just two in the last four games—a slump for him. On offense, Arian Foster is fourth in rushing yards (949) but is averaging just 3.8 per carry.
As a team though Houston is coming off a very shaky 43 – 37 overtime win and certainly aren’t used to being in the spotlight in the NFL this late in the season. They’re due a loss here: Lions 24, Texans 14.
Game two, 4:15 EST: (4-6) Washington at (5-5) Dallas – The Cowboys are bit of a mystery this year.
Tony Romo has thrown for nearly 300 yards per game but on two occasions his picks (whether it was his fault or the receiver’s) have single-handedly lost the game for Dallas.
Romo coughed it up four times in a loss the Giants and five in a loss to the Bears (both at home) yet in the other eight games he has a total of just four interceptions.
The Cowboys topped the Super Bowl champion Giants earlier in the season and were right there with 9-1 Atlanta and 8-2 Baltimore but needed overtime to top the 2-8 Browns last week.
Washington may have their own problems, though not at quarterback. Robert Griffin is fifth in the league with a quarterback rating of 101.0 and is 19th in rushing yards—among all players—with 613.
Griffin will shine on the big stage in Dallas: Redskins 27, Cowboys 24.
Game three, 8:20 EST: (7-3) New England at (4-6) N.Y. Jets—Roughly four weeks ago the 3-3 Jets rolled into New England to take on the 3-3 Patriots in a battle of first-place teams—amazing how time changes everything. Clearly the Jets hadn’t looked like a first-place team up to that point, but played surprisingly well and actually should have won the game, had they not fouled up the play-calling and execution down the stretch.
Since that time the now last-place Jets looked woeful in losses to Miami (30–9) and Seattle (28–7) before picking up a less-than-encouraging win against the 3-6-1 Rams on Sunday.
For the Patriots, the win was the start of their current four-game winning streak. The team even picked up talented cornerback Aqib Talib to shore up their biggest weakness which is pass defense.
Still, the determined Jets, who are still smarting over the loss, will surprise everyone with one of their better performances: Jets 24, Patriots 17.The NFL will have a trio of games on Thanksgiving–here’s what to look for in each.
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