Here’s what to look for in the Thanksgiving games that remain after the Ravens-Steelers contest scheduled for 8:20 p.m. was moved to Sunday.
All times Eastern.
Texans at Lions
Time: 12:30 p.m.
When Sheila Ford Hamp was named principal owner of the Lions in June, she boldly described how she hates losing, that she is a competitive person, that “my message to the fans: I’ll hate to lose as much as they do, and I’ll try not to.” And yet here the team is 4-6, losers of three of the past four games after being shut out Sunday by the Panthers, who were playing backup quarterback P.J. Walker. Matt Patricia, who was 6-10 and 3-12-1 in his first two years as coach, may not make it to Christmas, in large part because four of this year’s six losses have been blowouts.
Now the Lions have to face a Texans team that — despite being 3-7 — is coming off a 27-20 victory over the Patriots. The Texans’ defense stood out Sunday, with J.J. Watt batting down four of Cam Newton’s passes and safety Justin Reid coming up big.
Point spread: Texans -3
The Lions have been an underdog in their annual Thanksgiving game nine times over the past 13 seasons and have covered the spread only twice in those games (including last season, when they lost to the Bears by four as 5½-point underdogs). The total might be worth your attention; games featuring home teams that are coming off losses by at least 14 points as a favorite have gone 27-2 to the under over the past five seasons. Such games are 2-0 to the under this season, staying 11.3 points below the total on average.
Detroit was a three-point favorite in its 20-0 loss to Carolina.
Overall, favorites on Thanksgiving have gone 31-13 against the spread since 2005, though they went only 1-2 ATS last season.
Washington at Cowboys
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Chase Young, the No. 2 pick in the draft, summed up this game best: “Ooooh. King James watching. Everybody watching.” LeBron James, a big Cowboys fan, is likely to tune in to see this NFC East clash. That’s big because someone has to win the Oprah Winfrey division. (“You get three wins and you get three wins and you get three wins and you get three wins!”) Both teams are coming off victories Sunday, with Washington beating the Bengals and the Cowboys triumphing over the Vikings.
The Cowboys’ victory over Minnesota left linebacker Jaylon Smith proclaiming, “We’re going to go 7-0.” This one is made more palatable by the comeback story of the year in Alex Smith and the return of Andy Dalton after suffering a concussion and testing positive for the coronavirus. Dalton has recovered, although he notes, “I can eat really healthy right now, and it doesn’t matter because I can’t taste it.”
Point spread: Cowboys -3
Dallas has covered the spread on Thanksgiving only once in the past nine seasons, and it was against Washington in 2018. Last year, the Cowboys were 6½-point favorites against the Bills but lost by 11. After becoming the first team since 2003 to open the season 0-8 against the spread, the Cowboys have covered in two straight. Washington is 3-1 ATS vs. NFC East foes this season and 2-4 ATS vs. everyone else.