Early Preview: Packers at Lions

It's early, but it's never too soon to examine the keys to the game and the key matchup as the Green Bay Packers (10-0) visit the Detroit Lions (7-3) in a nationally televised Thanksgiving showcase.

Green Bay at Detroit

Kickoff: Thursday, 12:30 p.m. ET, at Ford Field, Detroit - TV: FOX

TV announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver

Keys to the game: The Lions' defense will play chicken with Aaron Rodgers, betting on its front four finding the quarterback before he can get the ball out. That's a gamble many have lost this season, and the Lions' secondary isn't so improved that it will hold up if Rodgers has time to step into throws. RB James Starks (knee) has taken the lead role but left last week's game. The Lions' run defense has holes Starks and RB Ryan Grant can exploit. RB Kevin Jones provided Detroit with a much-needed boost in the ground game last week, and Jahvid Best might be cleared this week to return from his concussion. That balance is critical with QB Matthew Stafford proving to turnover prone when forced into a one-dimensional game plan. Jones had 201 yards from scrimmage against Carolina.

Matchup to watch: Lions WR Calvin Johnson vs. Packers CB Charles Woodson: Woodson brings his best for showcases such as this one. He's known for jumping short routes and biting hard inside, a tendency the Lions can exploit with Johnson and many of their secondary targets.

Player spotlight: Lions C Dominic Raiola: He started his 150th straight game last week against Carolina. Raiola, in his 11th season, has missed just four games while playing for four head coaches and seven offensive coordinators. The 295-pounder's assignment Thursday? Keep 350-pound NT B.J. Raji away from Stafford.

Fast facts: Stafford has four games with three or more touchdown passes, most by a Lions quarterback since Scott Mitchell (1995). ... The Packers have not trailed in the fourth quarter during their 16-game winning streak.

Trending for the Packers: Jordy Nelson is standing out as the biggest playmaker in Green Bay's prolific passing game. The fourth-year player had two touchdown catches Sunday for the second straight game, giving him a team-high nine touchdown receptions - two more than No. 1 wideout Greg Jennings. "Jordy Nelson and Aaron Rodgers are really in a groove right now," coach Mike McCarthy said. So much that Rodgers connected with Nelson (six catches, 123 yards) on a deep throw along the sideline that resulted in a 40-yard touchdown to account for the final points with less than three minutes to play after Tampa Bay cut its deficit to 28-26. Nelson has three 100-yard games in the last five outings, during which he has six touchdown catches.

Trending for the Lions: Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham lost his patience with Amari Spievey and benched the second-year strong safety in the second quarter. Spievey had missed a couple of open-field tackles, the last of which sprung Carolina running back DeAngelo Williams on a 26-yard run that set up an 11-yard touchdown run by Cam Newton. Veteran Chris Harris replaced him and played the rest of the game.

Who will win and why: The Lions have fared well against mobile quarterbacks -- Cam Newton, Josh Freeman, Tim Tebow -- using LB Stephen Tulloch as a spy. But self-inflicted wounds have buried Detroit the past two weeks, and if the run of mistakes continues, so will the Packers' winning streak.

TSX pick: Packers 38-30.

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