Bills vs. Lions: Live stream, how to watch, odds, prediction for Thanksgiving game on CBS and Paramount+

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Entering 2022, you would’ve been hard-pressed to find two NFL teams in more different places than the Bills and Lions. Buffalo came in as a Super Bowl favorite, complete with an MVP-caliber quarterback and big-money defense. Detroit came in simply hoping to avoid a losing record, even with one of the most-maligned QBs and defenses in the game. For a while, each team performed exactly as expected: the Bills opened the year as a powerhouse, and the Lions remained feisty but win-starved.

In recent weeks, however, both clubs have seemingly changed identities. Josh Allen leads the NFL in turnovers and is looking to rediscover his groove as the Bills come off a 1-2 stretch, sneaking past the Browns on Sunday. Jared Goff and the Lions, meanwhile, have enjoyed a three-game win streak to emerge as sudden players in the NFC wild card race.

Thursday’s Thanksgiving matchup between the two sides could prove which team is for real. Detroit has lost five straight on Turkey Day, and Buffalo has the benefit of playing in Detroit for the second time in four days after its Week 11 matchup was relocated there Sunday. But Dan Campbell’s squad has never looked more juiced. So this one should be fun.

How to watch

Date: Thursday, Nov. 24 | Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
Location: Ford Field (Detroit)
TV: CBS | Stream: Paramount+
Follow: CBS Sports App   
Odds: Bills -9.5, O/U 54.5

Featured Game | Detroit Lions vs. Buffalo Bills

When the Bills have the ball

The best part about watching the Bills is witnessing the Allen-led fireworks, most of which also involve Stefon Diggs as a downfield craftsmen. But everything about this matchup suggests Buffalo will be best served sticking to the ground. Devin Singletary got a season-high 18 carries against Cleveland in Week 11, while rookie James Cook broke out with 86 yards of his own. The Lions, meanwhile, are ranked 26th against the run. They bottled up Saquon Barkley on Sunday but have otherwise been a sieve in that department, which should mean plenty of touches for both Cook and Singletary, and maybe even additional designed carries for Allen. Detroit is 1-5 this year when allowing 110+ rushing yards, and 3-1 when surrendering less.

Keeping the ball on the ground could also help Allen continue to settle in while recovering from a lingering elbow injury. The Lions may well present opportunities to air it out. Starting cornerback Jeff Okudah, for example, is set to sit out, pushing Jerry Jacobs and/or Amani Oruwariye into bigger roles. Diggs and Gabe Davis no doubt have the speed to score deep. But why make Allen throw it more than he has to, especially on a short week, as he looks to regain comfort both physically and in his decision-making process? The less pressure and/or hits he takes from Aidan Hutchinson (5.5 sacks), the better. Singletary in particular has been solid when given a real workload; this is the game to use him.

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When the Lions have the ball

Detroit was always gonna need a near-flawless outing to contend with a superior foe like the Bills, but this matchup suggests a specific strategy on the Lions’ end: attack Buffalo’s bruises. Jamaal Williams has emerged as a focal point for Detroit’s offense, for example, and he should remain a busy man on plays designed up the middle and off the right side, where disruptive defenders Tremaine Edmunds and Greg Rousseau will be absent due to injuries. Reinstituting more open-space touches for D’Andre Swift might not be a bad idea, either, even if the former RB1 has struggled in limited touches as of late.

If the Bills’ No. 8-ranked run “D” remains intact even missing starters, Detroit shouldn’t be afraid to play Buffalo’s game and take shots downfield, either. The Bills are 6-0 when safety Jordan Poyer suits up this year, and that’s partly because the veteran ballhawk is so adept at tracking throws past the sticks. But his counterpart, Micah Hyde, is still out, and Goff has done well spreading the ball to his underrated receiving corps this year, especially when playing catch-up. Amon-Ra St. Brown is a legitimate possession weapon, Jameson Williams could be a factor if he debuts, and D.J. Chark should also be healthier.

Generally speaking, Detroit is better off when Goff throws less, but the Bills (No. 20 vs. the pass) aren’t invincible in coverage. In their last two games, they’ve allowed monster performances from Justin Jefferson and Amari Cooper in high-scoring affairs.

Prediction: Bills 30, Lions 23

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