Thanksgiving opens Week 12 sports betting action in NFL matchups this week. But it’s 2020 and we can’t have nice things, and they took away the night game. As everyone knows, the Ravens-Steelers game has been pushed until Sunday, so we revert to 2005 when there was only a doubleheader. Our NFL injury report breaks down everything you need to know to make your NFL picks on the Turkey Day games.
Houston Texans at Detroit Lions
|Game: Houston Texans (3-7) vs Detroit Lions (4-6)
Location: Ford Field
Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
It’s the 83rd annual (but non-contiguous) Detroit Lions’ Thanksgiving Day Football Game, sponsored on the Dumont Network. This year, a rematch of 2012’s Thanksgiving Day game between these teams in which the Lions managed to turn a win into a 34-31 overtime loss, but narrowly covered as the sportsbook had them as a four-point dog. A much-younger Matthew Stafford threw the ball 61 times that day and then his arm fell off. Seriously. 61 times.
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It’s not all bad news, Houston. Let’s talk about your good news first. The only questionable player coming into the game is the punter Bryan Anger, and he still had limited work on his injured quad all week. Plus, your O-line, they’re getting healthier with starting LT Laremy Tunsil and LG Senio Kelemete getting back to full-time practice in weeks. And, there’s… um — oh, that’s the end of the good-news part.
Whatever depth you did have at wide receiver is out the door with Randall Cobb now moved to injured reserve Wednesday and WR Kenny Stills declared out with a quad problem. Also not playing Thursday is FB Cullen Gillaspia deemed out with an injured back.
On the defense, you’re short NT P.J. Hall for a good while as well, as he’s shipped off to the IR with a torn pectoral.
All of that is relatively awesome in comparison to the Lions, whose best news is the likely return of RB D’Andre Swift who hopes to clear concussion protocol in time to play. (That’s up to an independent neurologist and we won’t know for certain until the inactives list comes out about an hour or so before kickoff.)
Out again this week on offense are WRs Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola whose absence was more than noticed in last week’s shut-out. Also, the Lions have seen enough of former starting RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai and sent him to injured reserve this week. Everyone knows Detroit removed Matthew Stafford’s injury designation for his thumb this week, but it’s worth noting the team didn’t hold a full practice this week, rather more of a walkthrough in pads.
Over on the other side of the ball, things are grim. Detroit won’t have either cornerbacks Jeff Okudah (shoulder) or Mike Ford (concussion), both listed out. That makes CB Amani Oruwariye pretty vital to the team and he popped up on the report Wednesday with a back issue. We’d expect to see him go, or hear of some last-minute Lions’ promotions from the practice squad.
Finally, the team won’t get back DEs Da’Shawn Hand (groin) or Austin Bryant (thigh) this week.
This might honestly be the worst game so far this season to handicap. Both teams are on the edge of self implosion, wounded on offense and considering draft positions in 2021. Both coaches and teams still want to win, and for that we could only lean to the Texans’ straight up.
Thanksgiving day Lions’ betting steam is a real thing, but it’s really hard to imagine a ton of support will show up for Detroit as the game approaches, but never say never. For now, we could only lean Houston -3 but would have liked it at a cheaper price. If previous years are any indication, that price could show up if the Lions get game-day action.
The total is a little baffling in that it’s still at 51. Based on the lack of offensive players, we’d expect it to go down and would already lean under 51. If the number notches up, we’d play under 51½. (For that matter a three-point teaser of Texans moneyline pick and under 54 pays out at +110.)
Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys
|Game: Washington Football Team (3-7) vs Dallas Cowboys (3-7)
Location: AT&T Stadium
Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
For some, it is the greatest rivalry in sport. In reality, this year, it is a game worth about 15 draft positions, so you’d better hope you’re hosting that NFC East wildcard game if you’re the winner here. Last time they met, Football Team took the series lead with a 25-3 win after linebacker Jon Bostic laid questionable lumber on Andy Dalton, knocking him out of commission until last week.
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Washington Football Team
Football Team should see a handful of players return for this Thanksgiving game, among them WR Dontrelle Inman and OT Cornelius Lucas (ankle). Though Lucas still carries a questionable designation, he should return.
A couple of names popped up on the report earlier in the week that generated concern. One of them, WR Terry McLaurin (ankle), is still on it as questionable, but is fully expected to start. Additionally, RB Antonio Gibson has been cleared of an injury designation after a couple of days listed as practicing in full.
Like last week, K Dustin Hopkins will try to tough it through a groin injury without practicing during the week.
Still rehabbing on the defense are OLB Ryan Anderson (knee), S Deshazor Everett (ankle), and LB Jared Norris (hamstring), all declared out since last week.
Practice at the Cowboys’ facility was tragically interrupted on Wednesday when one of their strength and conditioning coaches collapsed on site. Markus Paul was later pronounced dead, and the team understandably took the day off.
They still were required to issue a speculative injury report for the day. On it CB Anthony Browns (ribs) was upgraded to a limited practice but is still designated questionable. Kicker Greg Zuerlein is also listed questionable with a back injury. Zuerlein should be expected to play, but Brown was initially thought to be a no go. Both are worth checking against the pregame inactives list.
Money came for both sides so far in this game, moving the juice around while the point spread stayed put at three. We’d lean towards taking the points with Washington +3 but don’t love the play (or the price and might hope to see a reduced juice three if patient).
The Thanksgiving total bottomed out here at 46, down from a peak open of 48. (Someone’s hoping to middle a 47.) That number seems low and doesn’t seem like it should go any lower. Play over 46, and hope it doesn’t go into overtime tied 21-21.