Houston Texans vs Detroit Lions Live Stream Free: Watch Online NFL Thanksgiving Day Football (12.30PM ET)

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(Photo: Reuters/Richard Carson)Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans in the second half of their NFL football game in Houston September 30, 2012.

Houston Texans vs Detroit Lions is the early Thanksgiving Day game on Thursday in a match up that will see the top team of the AFC South face off against the bottom team in the NFC North. However, there could be more to this game than meets the eye. The game is scheduled to start at 12.30 p.m. ET and can be watched online through free live stream (details below).

The Houston Texans are flying high with an impressive 9-1 record coming into this game. They are well out in front in the AFC South with Indianapolis the nearest team in second with a record of 6-4. Both Tennessee and Jacksonville have records under .500 meaning the Texans are already all but assured a place in the postseason calendar.

Meanwhile the Lions are having a tough season, currently lying rock bottom in a fiercely competitive NFC North division. Detroit are 4-6 coming into this game and are two games behind third placed Minnesota, and an additional game behind the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears who are both on 7-3. If the Lions can claim an unlikely win today it would be a massive confidence boost for the team and could see them make a late run for the playoff spots.

However, in Detroit it has become somewhat of a Thanksgiving Day tradition to allow the opposition to be thankful they have been scheduled to play the Lions for Thanksgiving. The Lions have made a long-running habit of losing their Thanksgiving game, and have not won on this day in eight years.

Detroit fans could point to the fact that over the past decade they have been drawn up against some fantastic teams, however, anyone looking at their opponents today would just respond that it is no different this year. Facing the best team in the AFC this season, it could be another long day at the office for the Lions' players, and come game time they could quickly realize they would prefer to be at home eating their Thanksgiving turkeys.

Offering a glimmer of hope for the Lions, the Texans did not look at their best in their last game, nearly losing to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. The Texans have Matt Schaub to be thankful for, for maintaining their impressive record and seeing them through that game. But the Lions are a better team than the Jaguars, and they will be hoping a similarly disjointed Texans team turns up today.

The Lions have lost two straight games coming into this match up, leaving their postseason hopes hanging by a thread. They will need to be at their absolute best today if they are to stop that becoming a three loss streak.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford will be crucial for Detroit if they are to pull off an upset today, but he will have to return to some of his form from last season, where he was roundly praised by pundits for his pinpoint accuracy. He has not been able to replicate that form so far this year, and now would be a perfect time to find that form again.

The Lions will have to optimize their efficiency and take every point on offer today; the eight points left on the field in the red zone last week against the Green Bay Packers ultimately cost them the game. Games turn on such things, and that kind of inefficiency must be dropped from the Lions' game this week.

Houston Texans vs Detroit Lions is scheduled to start at 12.30 p.m. ET and can be watched online through free live stream by clicking here.