Per usual, the Detroit Lions will be hosting the first NFL game on the American Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday, taking on the Houston Texans, and there are some reports out of the Motor City that it could be the last game as Lions coach for Matt Patricia if Detroit loses. He’s absolutely getting fired at the end of the season at a minimum. Detroit opened as a 2.5-point underdog vs. Houston, which fired its coach earlier this season.
Last Game As Lions Coach For Matt Patricia | 2020 NFL Expert Analysis
The Lions hit rock bottom Sunday in a 20-0 loss at Carolina, the first time Detroit had been shutout in 11 years. It sure appeared as if the players quit on Patricia. In the embarrassing loss, the offense couldn’t move the ball and the defense couldn’t stop a former XFL quarterback (P.J. Walker). On two consecutive drives in the second quarter, the Lions punted the ball from Carolina territory. The Lions didn’t reach the red zone a single time and they only drove inside of Carolina’s 30-yard line one time.
The Panthers had lost five straight games. They’ve been playing without star running back Christian McCaffrey for weeks, then scratched starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater after pregame warmups on Sunday. They were down two offensive linemen. In their previous four games, against New Orleans, Atlanta, Kansas City and Tampa Bay, the Panthers had forced just two punts.
It was the third time in the last four weeks that the Lions lost by at least 14 points. Asked directly how safe he feels in his job, Patricia said: “I mean I think again for us, we kind of just focus one week at a time and all that stuff. I’ve had a philosophy for a long time, I go to work every day to try to earn my job. I mean, that’s just what I do. That doesn’t matter if it’s coachin’, doing engineering, I don’t care if I’m in school. So, you know, look, I’m just going to go to work and work hard. We all know that. We know we’re in the NFL, and that’s what it is. We got to go do better.”
Detroit still can’t exploit an opponent’s clear weakness — the Panthers entered Sunday last in the league in third-down defense but the Lions converted just 21 percent of their third down opportunities.
At 13-28-1, Patricia is the third-worst non-interim Lions coach ever. Only Marty Mornhinwig (5-27) and Rod Marinelli (10-38) have worse winning percentages. The Lions haven’t won more than two games in a row during Patricia’s entire tenure.
The Ford family said they wanted to see meaningful games in December when they brought back Patricia for a third season. Instead, the Lions (4-6) are now two games under .500 and all-but-mathematically eliminated from the chase before Thanksgiving.
Patricia likely would have been fired Sunday if the Lions weren’t on a short week this week.
Ravens-Steelers Game In Jeopardy?
The Thanksgiving Night game this year is Baltimore at Pittsburgh, but that is in some jeopardy with a COVID-19 outbreak on the Ravens – the game is still on as scheduled for now but could have to be moved to Sunday or even next Monday. The team closed its facility on Monday.
“Late (Sunday) night, we were informed that multiple members of the Baltimore Ravens organization tested positive for COVID-19, and those individuals immediately began to self-quarantine,” the tera said in a statement. “We have started the process of contact tracing and during this time, the Under Armour Performance Center will be closed, with all team activities conducted virtually. We will continue to work closely with and follow guidance from the NFL, team doctors and our medical trainers.”
There are reports that the club’s top two running backs, Mark Ingram and rookie JK Dobbins, both tested positive so they will for sure not play Thursday and be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Under the NFL’s coronavirus policy, Ingram and Dobbins, as well as any “high-risk” close contacts, would have to miss the game. Players who have high-risk exposure must self-quarantine for at least five days before returning. Ingram played only six snaps Sunday against the Titans as the Ravens appear to be phasing him out of their offense. Dobbins played 41 offensive snaps.
Gus Edwards is the team’s other top running back. Justice Hill would also see his workload grow, while rookie Ty’Son Williams could be elevated from the practice squad.
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