Every year, the Detroit Lions begin football on Thanksgiving with a game in their home stadium. In recent seasons, the contest hasn’t meant much to the team that’s made the playoffs just once in the new millennium. This year is different, though, with sole possession of first place on the line.
The Lions are tied atop the NFC North with a 6-5 record. They’ll host the Green Bay Packers for the fourth time in eight years on the holiday. The Packers are a half-game out of first place.
The Lions have had a chance to pull away from the rest of the struggling division. However, two straight losses have prevented them from doing so. After their most recent loss, Reggie Bush stated that the players need to have a meeting. Quarterback Matthew Stafford disagreed.
"I don't think it's necessary," Stafford said. "This is a team I've been around for a while, and we have strong leaders on this team. We can get it taken care of just in individual groups. We've got leaders at every position, and guys know what it takes to win in this league."
Despite how the quarterback may have felt, the team did meet this week to discuss their losing streak. The session lasted about 15 minutes and involved around 20 of the club’s top players.
"We have a young team, and a lot of the young guys look up to the older guys in their rooms,” center Dominic Raiola said via mlive.com. “With that group we have, there's an open line of communication if anyone needs to talk about anything. It's not like before, where you're going to puff out your chest if I call you out. We can do that now, and we didn't have that before, and that's a good thing."
Bush felt the team needed to speak, but he might be wise to look at his play when searching for answers about Detroit’s performance.
When Bush has a major role in the offense, the Lions usually win. The team fails when he doesn’t have a big game. The running back is averaging, 90.8 rushing yards on 19 carries in wins, but just 56.6 rushing yards on 13 attempts in losses.
Player To Watch: Reggie Bush
TIME: 12:30 p.m. Thursday
PLACE: Ford Field
Online: Game Rewind
Updated Betting Odds: Lions by 6.5
Prediction: Lions over Packers, 31-20