It’s one of the most festive days of the year, and a landmark date on the NFL schedule. Thanksgiving is a fun time to get together with loved ones and watch football. The Detroit Lions have played the first game of the holiday schedule for several decades, and will be hosting the Buffalo Bills this year in the first contest of the day. Detroit is coming off of a 31-18 victory in Week 11 against the New York Giants. The Bills played in Detroit on Sunday due to a snowstorm in Western New York, and defeated the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field by a final score of 31-23.
Before everyone devours turkey and cranberry sauce, here are three things to look out for.
Detroit’s Goal Line Efficiency
With the trade of tight end T.J. Hockenson to the Minnesota Vikings, the Lions seemed to lose one of the premier options in the red zone in the entire league. Due to his size and athleticism, Hockenson would serve as a reliable jump-ball outlet for quarterback Jared Goff if the play broke down.
However, Detroit’s attack has not suffered one bit when it has approached the end zone in recent weeks. That’s because running back Jamaal Williams has come out of nowhere to lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns. He’s scampered into pay dirt a league high 12 times, which is more than star running backs Nick Chubb and Derrick Henry. It’s been a relatively simple formula, but one that seems to be working, as the team continues to be mindful of keeping D’Andre Swift healthy.
Buffalo’s Offensive Balance
There weren’t too many questions surrounding the Bills heading into the 2022 season, but one minor concern centered around the level of responsibility quarterback Josh Allen had on offense. Some worried that running Allen on several quarterback draws, in addition to calling upon him to drop back 50 times to pass would wear him out down the stretch.
A quarterback’s best friend is a solid running game, even if it’s an elite signal caller like Allen. Buffalo has seemed to find production on the ground in recent weeks, led by starter Devin Singletary. He’s run for at least 65 yards in three out of the last five games, which is enough to keep defenses honest. Additionally, rookie rusher James Cook had the best game of his young career last Sunday against Cleveland, netting 86 yards on the ground.
Ending A Streak Would Be All Gravy
Even though the game has changed over the course of the last few years, it’s nice for NFL fans to remain grounded with deep-rooted traditions. Detroit playing on Thanksgiving is one of those foundational tenets, although it hasn’t been much fun for fans of the team in recent seasons.
The Lions have dropped their last five Thanksgiving day tilts, last winning in 2016 against the Minnesota Vikings. Getting a win would keep their faint playoff hopes alive, while also putting an end to a difficult stretch.