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Inbox: Nothing beats Thanksgiving football

We’ll see what kind of magic this Packers-Lions meeting holds

LB Preston Smith
LB Preston Smith

Tom from Southfield, MI

Not a question, but a Thanksgiving message: Thankful for Insider Box and both of you. Two class acts. Have a good one today, and after the game, hurry home to your respective feasts.

I'm enjoying lovely Troy, Mich., at the moment but very much looking forward to a little turkey and a lot of dressing later this evening. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Ryan from Milwaukee, WI

The Lions are a tough out this year, but these games in Detroit are always weird, and I think we've got a shot. Who's your player to watch for the Packers? Thank you both for your work to keep us informed and entertained, and I hope you get to enjoy some time with your families after the game. Happy Thanksgiving and Go Pack Go!

I've covered eight games in Detroit, and I don't think a single one could be categorized as "normal." All three of the Packers' wins I've covered at Ford Field were memorable, though – Richard Rodgers' Hail Mary in 2015, running the table to win the NFC North in 2016 and clinching the No. 1 seed during the improbable 2019 campaign. We'll see what kind of magic this Thanksgiving meeting holds. I've made 35 trips around the sun, and I know one absolute truth: Nothing beats Thanksgiving football.

Scott from Palos Park, IL

Thank you for the WYMM this week. On the Rashan Gary sack, watching Kenny Clark push the left guard like he was a blocking sled was a thing of beauty. How often do you chance upon a play like that and just marvel at the strength some of these young men have?

Constantly. But plays like that also remind me how football is a team game. Sometimes this sport is as simple as a guy beating his man and making a play (e.g. Karl Brooks' sack of Justin Herbert), but often it's the culmination of several players doing their job. Gary and Clark played off each other throughout the fourth quarter and were each rewarded for their effort. Evidently, Clark also has a steak coming his way from Gary in the near future.

Matt from Allouez, WI

What are the Lions' weaknesses?

There aren't many, which is why they're off to their best start in 60 years. The Packers have to win in the red zone, though. That's the one area where Detroit hasn't been prolific on either side of the ball this season. The Lions are 17th in red-zone offense (52.9%) and 19th in goal-to-go (68.2%). Detroit's defense is vastly improved but is still 30th in red-zone defense (67.7%) and 28th in goal-to-go (86.7%).

Brian from Columbia, MO

I wish Patrick Taylor could get an absolutely ear-splitting cheer tomorrow...

I was thrilled to **see Taylor come back**. I really felt like his story here was unfinished. To Taylor's credit, he has the perfect mentality. As a former undrafted free agent, Taylor knows the only guarantee is the opportunity in front of him and he jumped at it. The Packers need him now more than ever with Aaron Jones and Emanuel Wilson out, and AJ Dillon dealing with the groin injury.

James from Panama City Beach, FL

Prayers for Luke Musgrave! He's one tough dude playing the whole game with a lacerated kidney, just wish some of the other players would play with heart like he does but I guess they're taking a business approach to their career. I watched the replay of Bears vs. Lions on NFL Network last night and noticed every time the Bears only rushed four, they got gashed with the run or pass! But when they rushed more and pressured Goff, the end result was good for the Bears!

Luke Musgrave is a very tough individual. Coming back from that Kareem Jackson hit is one thing but to play through what he reportedly did against the Chargers is borderline legendary. I wouldn't use Musgrave's situation as a proxy to slam others for making business decisions, though. There is a big difference between injured and hurt. Musgrave suffered a serious injury on Sunday and I'm just glad everything seems to be in a good place now. Wishing Luke well in his recovery.

David from Milwaukee, WI

How do the players feel about playing on these short weeks?

You won't find many NFL players who love playing on Thursdays, but Thanksgiving always hits a little different. Most players grew up NFL fans with their own memories of watching football while enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with family. I think they welcome this opportunity.

John from McHenry, IL

Jayden Reed is a keeper! I love what he brings to the offense. Randall Cobb clone?

I get why folks want to make that comparison – and it is a very positive one – but Reed is his own man and the perfect playmaker for the Matt LaFleur offense. Schematically, it's becoming difficult for defenses to pinpoint where Reed lines up on any given down. With Reed a full participant on Wednesday, I expect LaFleur to turn the dial to 10 on his creative utilization today against the Lions with all the injuries on the offensive side of the ball.

Dennis from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Did I see what I thought I saw in the Packers/Chargers game . . . T.J. Slaton doing Gilbert Brown's "gravedigger" move?

Yeah, T.J. has made that his celebration. I love it.

John from Aesch, BL

Hi Mike and Wes, thanks again for II. I think it's probably the biggest single factor, after the team itself, of course, uniting Packers fans from around the world. Work to be proud of for sure. My question is, are you aware of any other Packers' rookie records that are as insanely unreachable as Billy Howton's 1,231 yards receiving in only 12 games? Those would be pretty darn good numbers in 17 games, and back then it was still a grind-it-out league. Unbelievable!

Truly. At the time, that was just the eighth ever 1,000-yard receiving season in the NFL. Adjusted to a 17-game season, Howton would've finished that 1952 season with 75 catches for 1,743 yards and 18 touchdowns. Mercy.

Dave from Town of Bree, WI

I am very, very nervous for today's game. With Detroit being the field with the most major injuries, we pray that we don't come out of this weekend even more banged up! Yer thoughts?

You can't worry about that. Well, I suppose you can, but the players can't. Guys just have to go out there and perform. The field is what it is.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

Happy Thanksgiving! I've tried my hand at predictions before and they haven't gone well, but here I go again. Carrington Valentine will snag his first career interception and the Packers win a close one, 27-24. After the Packers victory, I will then lay down for the post-Thanksgiving meal nap. No win, no nap. It's a tough game for tough guys.

The stakes are high in New York this afternoon. Valentine is up to six pass breakups, which leads the Packers. It's a matter of time before he comes down with one of those.

Tim from Macon, MO

Good morning to you two and crew. Wow, our injury report looks scary! Talk about needing next man up! Could please tell me about Darnell Savage's eligibility? We sure could use him back ASAP. I know this is gonna be a real test of how our team handles adversity, but I feel that deep down inside this team knows they can turn this around and get some wins! I detect no quitters on this team! One more time. Many thanks for all you do! And just BACK OUR PACK!

Savage has been ruled out, but he was eligible to play since the Packers designated him to return on Monday. Savage has played a lot of ball, but that would've been a tall task to play without any actual practice reps. He now has a 21-day window to be activated to the 53. LaFleur said on Tuesday that Savage is itching to get back out there. We'll see what next week brings.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Wes, I usually don't get to the website until later in the day most Wednesdays. As a consumer, II or MMWC first? Of course, the Inbox is published first, but…to date I have started with the chat followed by Inbox. Always interesting to see the threads or themes of the chat that originated in the box and tie them back. No love today! Thanks for all you do. Happy Thanksgiving to you both.

Thanks Paul and our sincerest apologies. We ran into a few technical snafus with Mike's chat on Wednesday. We hope to have everything ironed out for the live blog today.

Paul from Waupaca, WI

Happy turkey day gentlemen! What happened to the spin move? It seemed like it was always worth a couple extra yards. Has it gone the way of the dinosaur?

I love me a good spin move. I used to pop whenever Eddie Lacy pressed circle on the controller. It does seem to be a rarer occurrence these days. I'm not sure why, though.

Jonathan from Walnut Creek, CA

No question, just a general statement...I've been a fan present in many sports venues over many many years, I've always been puzzled at the universal disdain of some fans and nearly 100% of sports announcers of the wave phenomenon. Never as a fan have I felt participating in the wave was a lack of support for the team I was in attendance for. It has always been an amazing sense of awe at a confluence of strangers participating in a unique communal event. Thanks for the amazing work you do!

I don't like the wave. I'm sorry. Fans spend their hard-earned money to come to a sporting event and I respect that they're entitled to lawfully participate however they so choose. But I don't view the wave as legitimate fan participation. It's the stadium equivalent of the kid in the backseat asking, "Are we there yet?"

Zak from Huntington Beach, CA

I'm just writing to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to the Inbox and all of its 'Siders, both In and Out. We all know that Wes can be a turkey sometimes, and that some Inboxers have (wrongfully) accused Mike of being a chicken and ducking Inbox submissions on certain topics, so hopefully there's a turducken in the press box to really tie the room together. GPG!

Turducken? Get the duck out of here, Zak.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Mike, Wes, and Insiders, I want to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. It does not matter how the Packers do this coming game or rest of the season because I am thankful for the great Packers coverage by the Insiders team and daily submissions by the fans of this page. Enjoy time with your families, the unity at hunting camps, and cheering on the Packers in Detroit!

Same to you, Bret. Thanks for being part of the community.

Al from Green Bay, WI

It will be an uphill battle for sure against a stout Lions team. But the Packers CAN take them. Reasons to believe: 1) An ascending Packers offense has shown the ability to put up points in the first half, keeping games within reach. 2) Yes, the Lions can roar, but they had to mount a frantic comeback at home against the Bears last week. They looked vulnerable. 3) Pride. The Pack got whipped by Detroit earlier this year, and the wounds still sting. 4) Any given Sunday…

The Packers haven't lost five straight to the Lions since a stretch of 11 straight losses from 1949-54. The injury numbers might not be on Green Bay's side today, but this team believes in itself. And it's a much different squad than the one the Lions built a 27-3 halftime lead against in September.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

On Sunday, a familiar script with a different ending
The offense found a way and the defense closed it out
Now on to Detroit for a traditional matchup on Thanksgiving
Underdogs no more, the surging Lions have won four straight over the Packers
An opportunity for some payback and a chance to spoil the party
Injuries must be overcome and "next man up" need step-up to prevail
Stay the course, Green and Gold

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. May you all enjoy plenty of turkey, family, friends…and hopefully a Packers win.

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