| Special to The Detroit News
It’s Thanksgiving, you just have to watch the Lions. You just do. I apologize.
After all, this could realistically be the last game of the Matt Patricia era, which could be a joyous thing to celebrate for many.
But mostly, the pall of another lost Lions season is so engrained into our holidays that we’ve all got our go-to jokes at the ready about this hapless franchise.
It’s tradition. It’s Michigan culture.
Maybe this year, we’ll just make fun of them on a video chat. So that’ll be something different.
I guess there’s worse things we could be talking to family members about.
Here are five things to watch as the Lions play host to Houston for the annual Thanksgiving game (12:30 p.m., CBS/760):
1. Deshaun’s day
We can just about guarantee that Deshaun Watson is going to have a big game. The Clemson product is one of the most fun players to watch in the NFL. Lions fans might want to ponder a future with a more modern, elusive quarterback, given that’s the archetype for many of the league’s young stars. Matthew Stafford is a solid quarterback, but watch how difficult Watson makes things for the Lions defense.
2. Brotherly love
This will be the first time that twin brothers A.J. Moore of Houston and C.J. Moore of Detroit face each other in football. You think they might mention that on the telecast? The undrafted free agents from Ole Miss have stuck in the league, A.J. as a safety and captain in Houston, and C.J. as a special teams ace for the Lions. A.J. Moore does play a little on special teams too though, so you might see a brother-on-brother hit Thursday.
3. Will Patricia crack?
Three more things, huh? Well, I guess we can keep an eye on the head coach. Matt Patricia been outwardly steady and focused in his approach, and we wouldn’t expect that to change Thursday. But if the Lions lose, and the writing on the wall is impossible for anyone to miss, maybe the coach will open up in a bit of reflection. Maybe we’ll get a quote or a sound bite to remember to cap a truly forgettable stretch of Lions’ history.
4. December to remember
What are things that could happen to get fans excited for the rest of the season? There are things! Maybe Jeff Okudah can a turn a corner in the season’s final quarter. Maybe D’Andre Swift plays Thursday and continues to give exciting glimpses. Maybe Jack Fox hits Santa Claus with a pre-game punt after the parade, somehow escaping the indoor confines of Ford Field. I don’t know, we’re stretching here.
5. The national stage
In Michigan, we’re always aware about what’s being said out there about our Lions. Since this is our only time in the national spotlight this season, I’ll be listening to what Jim Nantz and Tony Romo have to say about our plight. The NFL schedules every team for a national broadcast each season, usually on Thursday, Sunday or Monday night. Last year, the league forced Buffalo to have its only national broadcast on Thanksgiving at Dallas. This year, Detroit and Washington don’t have prime-time games, only Thursday’s “showdowns.” You’re welcome, America.
Matt Schoch is a writer for PlayMichigan.com and freelances for the Detroit News.