It is Thanksgiving Day in America on Thursday and that means we have a triple header of NFL action to enjoy and get stuck into. As ever the Thanksgiving Day feast of football begins at Ford Field where the Detroit Lions welcome the Buffalo Bills.
Buffalo have their sights set on playing on the biggest stage of them all at the end of the campaign whereas progress is the buzz word for the Lions, however both teams will be eager to win on what is an important day in America.
The Detroit Lions opened the season with one win from their opening seven matches and you would have thought at that point that the emphasis might have been on protecting their position in the next draft and just going through the motions for the remainder of the campaign. To their credit that hasn’t been what they have done and they now head into their Thanksgiving Day showpiece with three successive wins under their belt.
Two of those three wins have come on the road as well which suggests that this is a team that is together and while they haven’t always been convincing, you can’t argue with wins, especially the one last week against a New York Giants side who are going well this term. Detroit will point out that four of their six losses have been by four points or less so they could easily be 8-2 going into this match rather than 4-6. Their defence has left them down at times and that is a concern here.
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The Buffalo Bills were touted as Super Bowl contenders from before a ball was kicked off in this campaign and at 7-3 for their season they are well placed to push on and be in a good position within the AFC seedings to launch a bid to end their campaign in Arizona in February. A Thanksgiving Day road win will now only enhance their hopes but they would also put the pressure on the Miami Dolphins later in the weekend and that has to be their intention.
I didn’t think Buffalo were particularly impressive against the Cleveland Browns last weekend but when you consider they had lost their two previous matches they would have taken any win that was going. We know all about the Buffalo offense and it fired up again last week. What they would like is their defence to start convincing once again. If that happens, and usually the teams who have an eye on contending in the NFL look at this week as the time to peak and play well, then Buffalo should have enough here.
There should be an air of comfort around both teams in this match. Detroit Lions are playing at home in this contest but the Buffalo Bills were the home team in this very stadium as recently as Sunday so surroundings will be familiar. That makes me think that we’ll get a good game here and a high scoring one at that. I get that Detroit will probably utilise their running backs and keep the Buffalo offense off the field but this is Thanksgiving and I always think teams appreciate the platform to entertain on this day.
Whatever the Lions do on offense, and I do think they’ll open the play book up a little bit, the Buffalo Bills get to go at what is still the worst ranked team in the league. Detroit have conceded 27 points or more in seven of their 10 matches and while two of the three matches they haven’t leaked that many have come in the last three outings, the Green Bay and New York Giants offenses are fairly limited outside of their special talent. I think we’re set up for a high scoring game here.
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