Skip to main content


Lions turning into must-see TV ahead of matinee clash with Packers on TSN

David Montgomery David Montgomery - The Canadian Press

DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Lions for many years were a team people had to watch on Thanksgiving.

Detroit was so bad for so long that some started clamoring for the franchise to lose its traditional place on the holiday.

Suddenly, the Lions are a team NFL fans outside the Motor City want to see.

“We’re getting networks asking for the Lions,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in an interview with Fox 2 Detroit before attending Detroit's last game at Ford Field. “I think a lot of that goes back to the final game last season when they went into Green Bay. They didn’t necessarily have anything to play for, but they went and beat their division opponent and knocked them out of the playoffs.

“In the kickoff game, they made another statement.”

That was the first game of this season, when Detroit won at Super Bowl champion Kansas City. The NFC North-leading Lions (8-2) will have another opportunity to show the masses what they can do against the Packers (4-6) on Thursday.

Watch the Packers vs. the Lions at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT LIVE across the TSN Network,, and the TSN App. 

Detroit has opened a year with eight wins in 10 games for the first time since 1962. The run included a Week 4 win at Green Bay.

The Lions closed last season with eight wins in their last 10 games and capped the run by keeping Aaron Rodgers out of the postseason in what turned out to be his last game with Green Bay.

Packers coach Matt LaFleur is hoping his team can stem the tide.

LaFleur, who is from Mount Pleasant, Michigan, grew up watching the Lions play on the holiday at his grandmother's house.

“Everybody’s glued to the TV set,” he said. “It is a great honor.

“It’s great to be going back to the state I’m from, and hopefully we can spoil their Thanksgiving Day.”


The Packers will be missing some key players.

Tight end Luke Musgrave and receiver Emanuel Wilson went on injured reserve Wednesday. Running back James Robinson was added to the active roster because Aaron Jones is out with a knee injury. AJ Dillon will likely start in the backfield.

“I’m ready for a haul," said Dillon, who is listed as questionable with a groin injury. “I’ve been in every situation these last four years.”


Detroit coach Dan Campbell makes bold moves, often going for it on fourth down instead of punting or kicking field goals.

“I tell my family this: ‘ Wear a diaper before some of these games,’” Campbell told WXYT-FM.


Green Bay quarterback Jordan Love threw two interceptions in the last loss to the Lions, who led 27-3 at halftime. That was the first of five straight games in which the Packers failed to score a touchdown in the first half.

“We’ve just got to start fast,” Love said. “We got ourselves in a hole the first time we played them, where we were trying to crawl out of that.”

Love has been better lately.

He threw for a career-high 322 yards in a win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, surpassing his previous personal best, which he had set the week before in a loss to Pittsburgh.


Jared Goff threw three interceptions for his first time in three years with the Lions on Sunday against Chicago, then helped them rally from a 12-point deficit in the last three minutes to win.

While the quick turnaround isn't ideal for most players, Goff is glad he doesn't have to wait long to make up for his lackluster performance.

“I’d love to come out this week and play well and get a ‘W’ and be able to put that one behind me,” he said.


Green Bay was also 4-6 a year ago before bouncing back with four straight wins to move into playoff contention.

“We’ve got a lot of the guys here that was on that team last year, and that’s something we talked about,” linebacker De’Vondre Campbell said. “There’s a lot of outside noise, but none of that really matters. The only thing that matters is what we do.”


Follow Larry Lage at


AP NFL coverage: