Home » Blog » Lions’ Thanksgiving Game Opens Week 12 in NFC North

Lions’ Thanksgiving Game Opens Week 12 in NFC North

The NFC North kicks off Week 12 with the first of three Thanksgiving classic games, this Thursday afternoon.

Bottom of the division Detroit will look to upset the Texans to keep any slim hopes of making the playoffs alive.

Following the Lions’ Thanksgiving game, the Bears will host the Vikings while the Packers will travel to the Giants.

Houston Texans (9-1) at Detroit Lions (4-6)

Thursday 12:30 PM ET

Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson will be among those looking to turn around the Detroit Lions' disappointing season with a Thanksgiving win over the Houston Texans.

Turkey Day sees the traditional sight of Detroit (4-6, 2-2 home) taking the field, this year facing a tough task in Houston (9-1, 4-0 road).

It’s been the better part of a decade since the Lions last won a game on Thanksgiving Day – that last win came in a 22-14 victory over Green Bay in 2003 – so fans of the team will be a little hesitant as the team with the best record in football comes to town. Still, what better time for an upset that Thanksgiving?

Following a 24-20 loss to Green Bay, Detroit enters the game with a two-game losing streak and all but eliminated from postseason conversation. Three games behind the Packers and Bears, and with a 0-4 record within the division, it would take a miracle for the Lions to be playing come January.

At the other end of the spectrum, Houston is the runaway leader in the AFC South and pacing the entire conference. A combination of a well-rounded offense and an awesome defense has seen the Texans impress for much of the season. Houston rides a four-game winning streak into Ford Field.

Despite the disparity between the two sides, Houston is a marginal favorite heading into the game. The spread opened at just three (in favor of the Texans) and has risen to four. For a team that is unbeaten on the road and is facing an opponent with an inferior record, that seems somewhat small. But then again, Detroit is the top passing team (in terms of yards per game) in the league and could pose a threat. While Houston’s low-scoring performance in Chicago may have been taken into account, the indoor Ford Field is likely to offset those climate issues faced by the southern side two weeks ago.

The over/under is 50, having risen from 49. The total has gone over in seven Lions games and five Texans games.

Minnesota Vikings (6-4) at Chicago Bears (7-3)

Sunday 1 PMET

Following Thursday’s Thanksgiving festivities, the NFL returns to normal Sunday with an 11-game slate that features two NFC North clashes.

First up, following a bye week, Minnesota (6-4, 1-3 road) travels to Chicago (7-3, 4-1 home), losers of two straight games.

All the talk this week has been focused around the Bears and injured quarterback, Jay Cutler.

Cutler suffered a concussion against Houston two weeks ago and missed last Sunday’s game against San Francisco, which quickly turned into a 32-7 drubbing. The Bears offense was anemic with Jason Campbell behind center, and heavy criticism has fallen on the play-calling of offensive coordinator, Mike Tice.

Cutler has resumed (non-contact) training this week. His return however will be in the hands of neurologists, who have yet to clear him for play, and may well deem it necessary for him to miss this Sunday’s home game.

Chicago will hope for an improved performance from its defense, which – until the Niners game – had led the team to win after win.

Minnesota meanwhile will be looking to build on a divisional win over Detroit two weeks ago, a win that snapped a two-game losing streak. Adrian Peterson – who leads the league in rushing at 112.8 yards per game – will undoubtedly be the focal point for Minnesota’s offense, which is ranked No. 3 in rushing yards per game this season.

Cutler’s injury has seen the Vikings-Bear game left off oddsmakers’ boards for the time being. Bettors will need to check back with BettingSports.com on Sunday to find the line on this one.

Green Bay Packers (7-3) at New York Giants (6-4)

Sunday 8:20 PM ET

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers will look to build on a five-game winning streak by knocking off the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

The division’s final game of the weekend is a big Sunday Night Football clash between Green Bay (7-3, 3-2 road) and the New York Giants (6-4, 3-2 home).

After three losses in the opening five weeks, the Packers have turned things around – starting with a huge win down in Houston – and marches on MetLife Stadium on the backs of five straight wins.

The Giants meanwhile have hit a bit of a slump, losing two straight. A close loss to Pittsburgh in East Rutherford, N.J., was followed by an unsuspecting 31-13 beat down in Cincinnati. The Giants’ handle on the NFC East is all of a sudden a precarious one, particularly if Dallas defeats Washington on Thanksgiving afternoon.

Green Bay has won six of its last nine against the Giants, but last time out the Giants took a 37-20 victory. That, of course, was in the divisional round of last season’s playoffs, when it mattered most. The Packers were victorious on their last trip to the MetLife, winning 38-35 last season.

Despite the Packers being the form side coming into this one and the Giants boasting a less than awe-inspiring home record, bookmakers have the New York side as favorites to take this one. An opening spread of 1.5 has extended to three with some bookies, and could see more action before Sunday night’s kickoff.

The over/under is 49. The Packers are more likely to see the total go over (to the tune of 60 percent) while the Giants have seen the total go under far more often (70 percent). Bettors will need to establish if this is to be a shootout or a defensive display.

  • 100%