Detroit Lions fans were energized by last week’s come from behind win over Cleveland, a game in which their quarterback Matthew Stafford tossed five touchdown passes. Unfortunately for Lions fans, Stafford hurt his shoulder late in that game and isn’t expected to play this week, and wide receiver Calvin Johnson could also miss the game with injuries.
Missing those two players would render the Lions offense punch-less. The Packers won the first meeting 26-0 at Lambeau Field earlier with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson sitting that one out as well.
Detroit has had the upper hand on the Packers on Thanksgiving Day (11-6-1), but recently, they’ve struggled. The Lions were blown out by Tennessee last year and in the last 5-seasons, the Lions have been outscored 179-62 on Thanksgiving Day.
The Packers will play their 3rd game in 12 days and will be looking for their 3rd straight win. It’ll be the first game without defensive stars Al Harris and Aaron Kampman. They won’t likely miss those players much today, but the impact of their loss will likely be tested later in the season.
For the Packers not to win this game, they’d likely have to lose the turnover battle and that seems unlikely. Green Bay leads the NFL in turnover ratio at +14. The teams 22 take/aways ranks 3rd and the 8 turnovers is #1 for fewest in the league. Detroit meanwhile, ranked 31st in yards allowed and 32nd and last in points allowed this season.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz has sold his team all week on the importance and the tradition of this game on Thanksgiving, and that’s the intriguing part of this contest, will the Lions be able to use that emotion to stay in this game? My guess is no. The Packers should win this one in a route. They’ll jump out early, just like last week, but unlike last week. the Packers won’t let the opponent back in it.
So stick the bird in the oven a little early because you’ll be able to partake in the big meal by halftime.