The Texans are marching closer to the AFC South title and the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs. They need probably four more wins to get the job done, and this is a game that they are expected to win. Still, the Lions are in massive need of a ‘W’ on Turkey Day, and they are three-point underdogs to try to save their season in this 12:30 p.m. (ET) kickoff.
1. Why Houston will cover the spread: The Texans will cover the spread if they can find a way to cover WR Calvin Johnson. Though the Jacksonville Jaguars moved the ball well last week against Houston, if not for the play of WR Justin Blackmon, that game never would have been close. It’s not the first time that a receiver had a big game against this defense though, as WR Jordy Nelson had three scores against the Texans as well when they played against the Green Bay Packers.
2. Why Detroit will cover the spread: The Lions will cover the spread if they stop shooting themselves in the foot. Last week against the aforementioned Packers, they fumbled three times, committed seven penalties, and threw two picks. The week before? Two fumbles, a pick, and six penalties. The special teams unit has had meltdowns, and both sides of the ball are committing just a number of insanely stupid penalties that are just killing the team’s effort. Take those away, and the Lions would probably be in contention for the NFC North title, and not fighting for their playoff lives.
3. Total Talk: The Lions had played three straight ‘over’ contests before last week’s 24-20 loss to Green Bay. The team has scored at least 20 points in four in a row, but has allowed at least 24 in three of the last four. Houston has either been really good or really bad this year. In the second game against Jacksonville, the game against Green Bay, and the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos, the team has allowed 93 points. In all other situations, the team has allowed 87 total points. Five of the last eight Texans’ games have exceeded the ‘total’ though, thanks to an offense that’s averaged 29.3 PPG during that stretch.
4. TEXANS/LIONS Betting Trends: There have only been two meeting in this series all-time, and the home team has won and covered both. Both games also eclipsed the closing ‘total’. The Lions have failed to cover back-to-back games after covering four in a row through most of October and the start of November. The Texans are still one of the best ATS teams in the league this year at 7-3 ATS, but their three-game cover streak came to a halt last week at the hands of the Jags in the narrow overtime escape.
Houston 34 – Detroit 24