The first of the three Thanksgiving Day games features the undefeated Green Bay Packers as they travel to Detriot to take on the Lions. This will be one of the biggest games of the season for both of these teams.
And to be completely honest with you, I’m not sure I will be able to consume any turkey until after the game.
The Packers (10-0) have been the best team in the league since Week 1 and look to continue their dominance tomorrow against Detroit Lions, which is 7-3. Deja vu takes us back to 1962, when the 10-0 Packers faced the Lions in a week 11 Thanksgiving game. The Packers lost that day 26-14.
Could history repeat itself?
The Packers are ranked first in the league for average number of points scored at 35.5 per game.
On Aaron Rodgers’ “bad day” he puts up 299 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. That’s not too shabby.
Rodgers has set a standard for NFL quarterbacks that no one else in the league can come close to right now. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he has a nice variety of receivers to target. From rising star Jordy Nelson to solid veteran Donald Driver, the depth the Packers have is unbelievable. That is why this team is ranked third in passing yards, averaging 304.9 per game.
During the Tampa Bay game in week 11, James Starks, the team’s top rusher, left the game with a knee injury and his status is uncertain for Thursday’s game. Running the ball has not been Green Bay’s strong suit the past few years; however, Starks has helped the team by adding another dimension to its game, even it is only to gain a few yards and keep the clock running. Hopefully the Packers won’t need a player like Starks for Thursday, or hopefully struggling running back Ryan Grant can pull something together.
The Packers’ defense is the biggest concern against the Lions tomorrow. Inconsistent as ever, the defense we saw in Tampa Bay was not the one we saw shut down the Minnesota Vikings just a week earlier. The defense has been able to get pressure on the opposing quarterback, but not enough to be significant. The quarterback is still able to make plays even with the pressure of the Packer defense.
This Green Bay team needs to focus on making tackles to stop the play advancement. That was made very clear against Tampa Bay and their powerhouse running back LeGarrette Blount.
The Lions are a new team this year. They started off strong, initially keeping up with Green Bay in the race to go undefeated. In week 6 they experienced their first loss to another power team, the San Fransisco 49ers, and they have since lost two other games.
Here’s the reasons the Lions are going to put up a fight:
- This is their Thanksgiving game, and they know everyone’s eyes are on them. With their fans leaving the dining room table to cheer them on at Ford Field, losing is not an option.
- They have nothing to lose. If they don’t win on Thursday, who is going to say they are a crappy team? No one, because they would have just lost to the only undefeated team in the league and the most recent Super Bowl champions. The pressure is on Green Bay.
- The Lions are hungry for wins, not in the sense that this will make or break their season, but in the sense that this is their year to take opportunity by the horns and hold on tight.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford has jumped the gun with ill-advised a few times in recent games and it has cost him, particularly in week 10 against the Chicago Bears. With defensive players like Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams, interceptions could be deadly for Stafford and the Lions. The offensive line will need to work hard to keep the pressure off Stafford to keep him calm and relaxed during the game.
One question that many of us are pondering is “Do the Lions have what it takes to shut down Aaron Rodgers?” So far, no Green Bay opponent has done so. However, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is someone the Packers need to keep their eye on. Suh is an aggressive player, one who has been criticized for his tough play being dirty. Keeping him away from Rodgers is a must.
Could it be a close game? Definitely.
Will it be? No.
The Packers’ defense will get the pressure on Stafford and get into his head. I expect at least one defensive touchdown for the Pack.
While Suh might put the pressure on Rodgers, it won’t be enough to throw off the Green Bay offense. Once they get rolling, they won’t stop.
Both teams are coming off a short week of practice and mental preparation. After a messy win over Tampa Bay for the Packers, they know they can’t make the mistakes they did in week 11 against the more solid Lions. The Lions are coming off a high with a win against the Carolina Panthers, but they still gave up a lot of points. Giving up points against the Panthers might be okay. Against the Packers, it’s a whole different ball game.
Green Bay: 35 | Detroit: 13
What do you think?
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Have a safe and fun holiday!
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions Game Info
- Packers-Lions Date: Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24th
- Packers-Lions Kickoff Time: 12:30 PM EST
- Packers-Lions TV Network: FOX
- Packers-Lions Announcers: Joe Buck and Troy Aikman
- Packers-Lions Point Spread: Packers -5.5
- Packers-Lions Over/Under: 55