Thanks to the Texans and Cowboys on Turkey-Day

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The NFL's traditional Thanksgiving Day offering might be one dish short this year but what is on the table should still satisfy

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson had his best game of the year in the Week 11 win over the New England Patriots.

The four teams in action on Thanksgiving Day haven’t had much to be thankful for so far this year, but that could all change if they get a win as the NFL regular season gets serious.

The Detroit Lions are the usual Turkey-Day curtain-raisers and they kick things off against the Houston Texans at 17:30 GMT, before the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Football Team clash in a potentially pivotal NFC East encounter at 21:30 GMT.

All four teams head into the American holiday with losing records, but some of those records are more deserved than others, with Detroit, in particular, finding the going tough of late as they seek to end a three-game losing run on Thanksgiving.

Lions and Texans to Put on a Fine Points Spread

Three defeats from the last four matches have left the Lions staring down the barrel of another disappointing campaign at 4-6, with head coach Matt Patricia likely to be heading for the exit door once the regular season is over.

Patricia’s men have recorded double-digit losses in both his two previous years in charge and with a tricky schedule to come, that record looks likely to continue. Last Sunday’s 20-0 loss to a banged-up Carolina Panthers was a new low in the Patricia era as Detroit were shut out for the first time in 11 years.

A clash with a hapless Houston defense offers the Lions offence a chance to redeem themselves though and the news rookie running-back D’Andre Swift could return from a concussion is a big boost, especially with star receiver Kenny Golladay ruled out.

Watson the Difference Maker

The Texans are giving up an average of 27 points per game this season – only slightly better than Detroit’s average of 28 – and found it tough containing the New England Patriots last week. They got the job done though with a 27-20 victory over the Pats to improve to 3-7 and are three-point favourites at 20/23 to make it back-to-back wins.

The Texans are a better team than their record suggests having been handed a tough schedule and quarterback Deshaun Watson is playing very well, racking up the sixth-most passing yards and sixth-most rushing yards amongst QBs. He’s 7/2 to have over 300 passing yards and three passing touchdowns.

Watson’s playmaking ability is likely to help push the points total, set at 51, over the top at 25/28, with 10 of Detroit’s last 11 home matches having gone over on the points line.

Cowboys Keen to Get Rolling

The NFC East division continues to be the laughing stock of the NFL as Washington and Dallas, both sitting at 3-7, look to claim top spot on Thursday.

Dallas are 2/1 to snatch the division crown and have shown signs of life in recent weeks, producing an impressive display to beat the Minnesota Vikings on the road last time out.

The Cowboys’ worst performance of the year came in the reverse fixture against Washington when registering just three points in a 25-3 loss.

Andy Dalton, who was knocked out of that game, looks like he’s more settled in this offence now though and was able to spread the ball about to his receivers against Minnesota, while running-back Ezekiel Elliott went over 100 yards for this first time this season.

That strong offensive showing and improvements on defense sees the Cowboys installed as three-point favourites, priced at 1/1 to cover the spread, which they’ve managed to do in their last two games.

Washington also head into the game off the back of a 20-9 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, another red-letter day for quarterback Alex Smith, as he registered his first win in 742 days after overcoming a career-threatening injury.

However, Washington were losing that game before Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow left the field with an injury, nullifying their threat as the home side eked out a win.

Washington are likely to keep the game close with their decent defense and points could be at a premium with under 46 points on offer at 25/28.

Five of Washington’s last six games have gone under the points total, while four of Dallas’ last five matches have also failed to go over.

*All odds correct at time of writing

Chris is broadcast and written journalist with a wealth of experience, across a number of different sports. As well covering football on the radio, he is a regular online and print contributor on the likes of rugby union, American Football and Formula One.

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