BUFFALO (7-3) at DETROIT (4-6)
Thursday 12:30 p.m. EST, CBS.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Buffalo 5-5; Detroit 6-3-1
SERIES RECORD: Bills lead 6-4-1.
LAST MEETING: Bills beat Lions 14-13 on Dec. 16, 2018 at Orchard Park, New York.
LAST WEEK: Bills beat Browns 31-23; Lions beat Giants 31-18
BILLS OFFENSE: OVERALL (2), RUSH (9), PASS (3), SCORING (2).
BILLS DEFENSE: OVERALL (13), RUSH (8), PASS (20), SCORING (5).
LIONS OFFENSE: OVERALL (6), RUSH (10), PASS (11), SCORING (8).
LIONS DEFENSE: OVERALL (32), RUSH (31), PASS (28), SCORING (32).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Bills even; Lions plus-1.
BILLS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Stefon Diggs. The Browns held Diggs without a catch until he scored the go-ahead TD on a 5-yard reception with 14 seconds left in the first half. He finished with a season-low 48 yards receiving on four catches. Diggs should be more active against one of the NFL’s shakiest passing defenses.
LIONS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Jamaal Williams. He had a career-high three touchdowns against the Giants. Williams joined Shaun Alexander, LaDainian Tomlinson and Priest Holmes as the only players since 2000 to have more than one rushing TD in at least five of a team’s first 10 games in a season. To upset the Bills, he will probably have to score at least twice.
DALLAS FACES MINNESOTA
Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys channeled the anger from a collapse one week into the biggest road rout in club history the next.
Now they’re thinking about building on all the things that went right while the opponent tries to figure out what went wrong.
The New York Giants visit the Cowboys on Thanksgiving with the NFC East rivals sharing 7-3 records, two games behind division-leading Philadelphia.
Dallas blew a 14-point lead entering the fourth quarter for the first time in franchise history in an overtime loss at Green Bay before one of its most dominant performances in a long time in a 40-3 victory at Minnesota.
Prescott is finding a rhythm after missing five games with a fractured thumb on his throwing hand, surrounded by a mostly healthy roster with plenty of playmakers on defense, too.
PATS VS VIKINGS
“I think coach (Mike) McCarthy said it best,” Prescott said. “Take a picture of what it felt like, of what it looked like when we were at our best. And when you’re not, remind yourself or do the things that are necessary to get back to that.”
he first regular-season game Kevin O’Connell participated in during his fleeting NFL playing career came in late-game relief for New England in a rare lopsided loss.
The Patriots had a bye the following week, and sure enough coach Bill Belichick had them ready for a bounce-back victory. Even after Tom Brady was lost for the year with a knee injury in the opener, the Patriots finished that 2008 season with an 11-5 record.
The response to the Week 3 blowout was methodical, not maniacal. The message was about controlling what was in their control and simply letting the rest of it go.
“That sticks with me to this very day, just as an example of what it’s like to coach in those moments where adversity hits and how you need to be at your best for your team,” O’Connell said.
The first-year Minnesota Vikings coach has found himself in that very situation this week, following a 40-3 loss to Dallas. The Vikings (8-2) host the Patriots (6-4), still coached by Belichick all these years later, on Thursday night with only four days to regroup. O’Connell, fittingly, will experience one of the biggest tests of his mettle as the boss against a coach who significantly influenced his know-how and perspective.