Thanksgiving Day will bring a feast of NFL games this year. The traditional two hosted by the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys are on tap, as well as a third prime-time game in Seattle where the Seahawks will take on the San Francisco 49ers.
All three are important divisional games.
Usually, when the Detroit Lions play on Thanksgiving Day, most fans are able to keep cooking or gather the family to eat knowing they are not likely to miss much. But that's not the case this year when they play the Green Bay Packers.
The Lions' 8-and-2 record is the team's best through 10 games in 61 years.
The Lions have hosted Thanksgiving Day games every year since 1934, but their fans have not had much to be thankful for in a long time. They have lost the last six in a row on Thanksgiving, and 15 of the last 19. But this year has been different so far.
“We are having fun, we're playing well. We're winning in a variety of ways. It's a good feeling right now,” said Lions quarterback Jared Goff. “I wish I could be so excited but we have so much football ahead of us. We got a lot of work to do to make sure we can achieve what we want to achieve.”
The team hasn’t won a playoff game since January of 1992, and is one of only four teams that have never appeared in a Super Bowl. The other three are the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns.
Goff said, “It's not like we can look towards what January looks like. We can't even do that. We have to keep winning. Got some big challenges coming up ahead.”
The division-rival Packers will be playing at Ford Field in Detroit — a place most visiting teams have been able to feast on Thanksgiving Day. But this time around, their seat at the table will not be as welcoming — and Lions fans are hungry.
“We've said all along that we want the community, the environment to be we're all in it, right? We're all in this together. We all feel it together and I feel like that's about where we're at, “ said Lions head coach, Dan Campbell. “We're winning some games. We're giving our fans something to be proud of and we got to do that again.”
Lions fans will be rooting for a Thanksgiving Day win, but they know the real football holidays don't begin until after Christmas.
The Lions hold a firm two-and-a-half game lead over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North, and four games over the Packers.
The last time Detroit won a division title was 1993. If they beat Green Bay on Thanksgiving Day, that leg up they'd hold in the division would be a lot more than a drumstick.
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