Free Press sports writers give their predictions for the Detroit Lions‘ Thanksgiving Day game against the Buffalo Bills (12:30 p.m., CBS):
The Lions are riding their first three-game winning streak since 2017, and Dan Campbell said he expects an “electric” atmosphere at Ford Field. The Lions can stamp themselves as legitimate playoff contenders with a win over a good Bills team, but they’ll need a near-perfect game to do that. The Bills have Super Bowl aspirations, and even with an ailing Josh Allen, their offense is the type of dynamic unit the Lions have struggled to stop all season. Allen is a dual-threat weapon bound to make some plays with his feet, and the shorthanded Lions secondary does not have the horses to run with Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. Turnovers are the great equalizer, and the Lions have done a good job generating extra possessions in recent weeks. They’ll need to win the turnover battle to spring a Turkey Day surprise, and even that might not be enough to slow down Buffalo’s offense. The pick: Bills 35, Lions 24.
DAVE BIRKETT’S SCOUTING REPORT:Lions are in for a long Thanksgiving in showdown vs. Bills
It’s tempting to pick the Lions, who are playing their best football during a three-game winning streak. They also face the beleaguered Bills, who are playing their second game in Detroit in five days and didn’t exactly look amazing while beating Cleveland, 31-23. Allen is getting the job done but just doesn’t look the same while dealing with an elbow sprain. The fact is the Bills are a legit 7-3 team that’s complete on both sides of the ball. The Lions have a puncher’s chance but will need too many things to break their way to beat one of the NFL’s elite teams. The pick: Bills 28, Lions 24.
The Lions will cover the spread, as they typically do at Ford Field. And they will put a scare into Buffalo. By the end of this game, the nation will be saying: “wow, that Lions team isn’t as bad as usual. They are building something here.” But beating the Bills and putting together a four-game winning streak seems like a stretch at this stage of the development. The pick: Bills 31, Lions 24.
Allen practiced without a brace Tuesday. This probably isn’t a good sign for the Lions. Still, a three-game winning streak should provide enough momentum to keep this competitive. The pick: Bills 27, Lions 23.