Week 12: Texans-Lions preview

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Houston Texans at Detroit Lions
Thursday, 12:30 ET, CBS, Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
Gameplan: QB Matt Stafford had one of his worst statistical performances last week since his rookie season in 2009 and was wildly out of sync with his wide receivers. Ryan Broyles will get more work in the base offense in light of Titus Young's benching. The Lions keep their tight ends in to block regularly, and might need heavier personnel to counter the Texans' No. 2-ranked run defense. Lions DT Nick Fairley's strong play of late is good news for Detroit's downtrodden defense, but a secondary devoid of ball skills and elite playmakers makes for an unbalanced defense. WR Andre Johnson has 43 receptions in the Texans' past five games and the pick-your-poison choice for Detroit defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham is sending extra bodies up to contain RB Arian Foster or dropping a defensive back to shrink the route tree for Johnson and QB Matt Schaub.
Need to know: The Texans lead the NFL in third-down defense, surrendering only 25.6 percent conversions. ... The Lions were plus-11 in turnover margin in 2011, but are minus-7 this season.

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