DETROIT - The Green Bay Packers have been in a tailspin since losing Aaron Rodgers to a broken collarbone, and they might have to survive another game without their star quarterback when they travel to Detroit for a Thanksgiving showdown with the Lions. The Packers need a win to stay afloat in the NFC North after a 26-26 tie against Minnesota on Sunday. Green Bay is one win behind the Bears and Lions, who wasted a chance to take the lead by losing 24-21 to Tampa Bay.
Rodgers hasn't officially been ruled out yet, but with a short week it seems Matt Flynn will get a chance to deliver Green Bay's first win since Week 8. Flynn came off the bench to pass for 218 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings, rallying the Packers from a 23-7 deficit. The Lions know Flynn all too well - he threw six touchdown passes against them in the 2011 regular-season finale.
ABOUT THE PACKERS (5-5-1): Green Bay's four-game winless streak can't be blamed entirely on the quarterback situation, as the defense has allowed 409.5 yards per game over the past four contests compared to 331.1 in the first seven. The Packers also are minus-3 in turnover margin over that span, though they did not have a giveaway against Minnesota. Rookie running back Eddie Lacy has been the workhorse for Green Bay with Rodgers out, and he gained 158 yards on 31 touches against Minnesota.
ABOUT THE LIONS (6-5): Detroit has been hurt by self-inflicted wounds, committing eight turnovers in back-to-back losses since seizing control of the division with a win over the Bears in Week 10. Turnovers are the only thing slowing down the Lions' offense, which ranks sixth in total yards (412.1) and third in passing (308.4). The defense has held five straight opponents under 100 yards rushing but has struggled against the pass.
1. Lacy has recorded 22 or more carries in seven of the last eight games, averaging 94.4 rushing yards during that span.
2. Detroit has lost its Thanksgiving Day game the last nine years. It's last win was a 22-14 triumph over Green Bay in 2003.
3. Johnson has 861 receiving yards over the past five contests, the most in a five-game span in NFL history.
PREDICTION: Packers 26, Lions 24
HALFTIME: Michigan's own Tony Lucca will be performing the halftime show. Playworks Michigan will have a very special role in the Detroit Lions halftime show. One of the Detroit Lions pillar partners in their Living for the City initiative, the team has invited Playworks and some local elementary children to participate in the Thanksgiving Day halftime show.
This once in a lifetime opportunity will provide 400 children an opportunity to show the benefits of healthy play and physical activity to the record number of viewers of the Thanksgiving Day tradition of Detroit Lions football. Playworks strong community message will broadcast the importance of recess during the school day. The Playworks model has shown having fun at recess not only increases learning time, but also results in better play with less conflicts, bullying and results in less behavior problems in the classroom.
Playworks Michigan is a 501(3)(C) serving 7,500 students in 13 low-income schools across the state with a full time program in Detroit. Through play and interaction they are transforming low-income elementary schools by reducing bullying and conflicts. With the Playworks model, these activities are inspiring leadership, helping kids make the right choices, learn respect and inclusion, AND the powers of healthy and safe play.
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