With Packers in town, rare holiday win tops on Lions’ list

Field Level Media

November 23, 2023 at 2:37 am.

The Detroit Lions cleared numerous hurdles to reach their annual Thanksgiving Day home game in full control of the NFC North.

On Thursday, Detroit will look to snap its six-game losing streak on the holiday when it hosts the Green Bay Packers.

“We’re trying to turn over a new leaf here,” coach Dan Campbell said. “We’re trying to do something different and find a way to do some things that haven’t been done in awhile. This is another one of those opportunities for us.”

The Lions are 8-2, their best 10-game start since the 1962 season, and have won seven consecutive division games for the first time since the AFL-NFL merger. Aiming for their first division title since 1993, Detroit would be the No. 2 seed in the NFC if the playoffs began this week. The Lions are currently 2 1/2 games ahead of second-place Minnesota in the division.

Riding a three-game winning streak, the last two victories haven’t come easy. The Lions needed a last-second field goal to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 10, then rallied from a 12-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat Chicago 31-26 on Sunday.

Quarterback Jared Goff threw a season-high three interceptions but bounced back to lead two late touchdown drives to stun the Bears.

“Certainly we’re not playing the best all across the board. But you can’t put a price on finding a way to win tough games when things don’t go your way,” Campbell said.

All but one of the Lions’ Thanksgiving games during the past six years have been decided by one possession.

“I still think it’s something special. I believe that … it’s a privilege to be able to play on Thanksgiving Day,” Campbell said. “It’s a privilege for our guys and everybody’s watching. All your families, all your friends. This is the type of game where somebody you went to school with in the second grade is texting you. … It’s kind of cool like that.”

Green Bay (4-6) used to own the division — and the Lions — but Detroit has a four-game winning streak against the Packers. That includes the Lions’ 34-20 victory at Lambeau Field earlier this season. Detroit led 27-3 at halftime and rode David Montgomery (121 rushing yards, three touchdowns) to victory.

Packers quarterback Jordan Love threw two interceptions and was sacked five times, but caught the attention of Campbell. Green Bay was limited to 27 rushing yards, but Campbell said he saw plenty of promise from Love.

Love would like to see a lot less of the Lions’ front four in the rematch.

“They’re a solid defense. We’ve just got to start fast,” Love said of the rematch. “We got ourselves in a hole first time we played them and tried crawling out of that.”

The Packers had lost five of six games before Love threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns in a 23-20 win over the Chargers last week.

“It was a great game all around the board, just from an execution standpoint,” Love said. “It was one of our most consistent games, for sure.”

Green Bay will be without running back Aaron Jones on Thursday. He reportedly suffered an MCL sprain on Sunday and has been ruled out. AJ Dillon will take over the bulk of the running back duties, though he is listed Wednesday as questionable because of a groin issue.

“I’m ready for a haul. I’ve done this,” Dillon said earlier this week. “I’ve been in every situation these last four years — I’ve started games, I’ve had to fill in at times. It’s nothing new.”

The Packers won’t have tight end Luke Musgrave on Thursday. He was briefly hospitalized with a lacerated kidney, an injury incurred during the win over the Chargers. Musgrave caught a 10-yard pass in the third quarter and got to his feet reaching for his abdomen but remained in the game for 16 additional offensive snaps.

Third-round pick Tucker Kraft stands to see more reps at tight end this week in Musgrave’s spot.

Linebacker De’Vondre Campbell (neck) and wide receiver Dontayvion Wicks (concussion, knee) didn’t practice Tuesday. Safety Darnell Savage (calf) was ruled out Wednesday, while running back Emanuel Wilson (shoulder) was placed on injured reserve.

Green Bay signed running back James Robinson and wide receiver Bo Melton from the practice to the active roster.

Lions guard Jonah Jackson (wrist), who didn’t play against Chicago, was a DNP on Monday through Wednesday for Detroit and has been ruled out.

ALL  |  NFL  |  College Football  |  MLB  |  NBA