Detroit Lions vs. Houston Texans: Thanksgiving Day game preview

Detroit Lions (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions will look to bounce back after an embarrassing loss

Even with their opponent down key players, the Detroit Lions got shutout for the first time since 2009. They had a chance to even out their record and be at .500 but couldn’t jump on the chance. They will now take on the Houston Texans for their annual Thanksgiving matchup that’s always been the first game of the triple-header on the holiday.

This article will cover the matchup history, what happened in their last matchup, what to watch for, what the Lions need to do to win and a prediction for the game. As it’s an annual tradition for the Lions to play on this holiday, a Thanksgiving paragraph special will also be covered.

Matchup history

These two teams rarely play each other as they’ve faced off just four times with the Texans having the edge with a 3-1 record. In their third ever matchup, the game went into overtime with the Texans taking the win.


As mentioned before, it’s a tradition for the Lions to play on Thanksgiving. They’ve played every Thanksgiving since 1934 although the tradition was halted from 1939-1944 due to World War II.

It became a tradition as former owner George Richards tested it out to see how many people would attend on the holiday and it turned out to be a huge success. The Lions are 37-41-2 on Thanksgiving and have lost the past three games on this holiday.

Last matchup

The last time the Lions and Texans played each other was Week 8 of the 2016 season. The Texans took this matchup with a score of 20-13.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford was 27 for 41 with 240 yards and a touchdown. Running back Theo Riddick rushed for 56 yards on 11 attempts. In the air, he caught eight passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Eric Ebron caught seven passes for 79 receiving yards. Kicker Matt Prater missed one of three field goal attempts but did get one of 47 yards.

Quarterback Brock Osweiler completed 20 of 29 passes for 186 yards while also throwing a touchdown and an interception. Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz caught five passes for 43 yards and a touchdown. Running back Lamar Miller rushed for the same amount of yards as Riddick but on six more attempts. He also got a rushing touchdown.

What to watch for

Will the Lions be able to stop quarterback Deshaun Watson who’s a dual threat? Watson can throw the ball really well and also runs the ball himself a bit. This season, Watson has rushed for a total of 269 yards averaging five yards a run with 19 first downs.

Will the offensive line be able to prevent defensive end J.J. Watt from getting by them? While not as good as he used to be, Watt can still be a game changer for the Texans and can stop the run.

Keys to the game/What the Lions need to do to win

The answer is simple, play lock down defense. The Texans are very similar to the Lions, they have a solid offense but the defense is the problem. If the defense can play tight, the Lions can win the game.


As both teams employ a good offense but a poor defense, it will be a high scoring affair. Both quarterbacks are solid and have similar, strong weapons they can feed although, the Lions may be shorthanded. Wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola were out for Week 11 and could be out for Thursday’s game with limited rest and practice.

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If Golladay returns, that would give the Lions a boost but the dual threat Watson will be too much for the defense to handle. Final score prediction: Texans 37, Lions 31