Thanksgiving history, trends, random thoughts

PackerReport.com's Bob Fox offers facts on Green Bay's performances on Thanksgiving Day; why Corey Williams deserves a new contract; and thoughts on Brett Favre

History
The game on Thursday will be the 35th time the Green Bay Packers have played on Thanksgiving. That includes three non-league games in 1920, 1922, and 1933.

The Packers have only played one NFL Thanksgiving game at home ... in 1923. The Pack beat the Hammond Pros 19-0.

Besides the Lions, the Packers have played against several other teams on Thanksgiving, especially early in their history. Most notably the Frankfurt Steamrollers from 1926-1930.

Recently the Packers have also played the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, losing both times in 1970 and 1994.

The Packers are 5-11-1 against the Lions on Thanksgiving.

Green Bay was 10-0 on Thanksgiving (Nov. 22, 1962), when the Lions shocked Vince Lombardi and the Packers 26-14.

The Packers played the Lions consecutively on Thanksgiving from 1951-1963.

Trends
The Packers are 3-2 at Ford Field.

The Packers have won more games (82) against the Lions than any other NFL franchise. The Packers have also won two playoff games against Detroit.

Favre is 1-1 against the Lions on Thanksgiving.

Favre is 23-9 lifetime (includes playoffs) against the Lions and has NEVER lost to Detroit in Wisconsin.

Green Bay has won three straight games against Detroit.

Mike McCarthy is 9-3 on the road as head coach, including 4-0 in 2007.

Random Thoughts
DT Corey Williams deserves a new contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Williams has become a force in 2007. Williams has six sacks this season and has forced three fumbles and has an interception. This is coming off a pretty good year in 2006. The Packers have done this before most recently with defensive linemen. They signed DE Aaron Kampman to a new contract after the 2005 season and DE/DT Cullen Jenkins to a new deal after the 2006 season.

Yes, the Packers drafted DT Justin Harrell in the first round in 2007. Yes, they have a lot of depth at DT. For instance, Johnny Jolly has stepped up his game in 2007, before injuring his shoulder against the Panthers. But still, just like Kampman and Jenkins before him, Williams has proven he belongs in Green Bay. After all, football starts in the trenches.

There has been much speculation after his performance thus far in 2007, and the team's performance, that Brett Favre will probably play another year after 16 years as the Packer signal caller. Favre said as much in a conference call Tuesday to reporters that cover the Lions.

"My play right now, if the season was over today, I could look in a mirror and say, 'You can play. You don 't have to say I think I can. You know you can,'" Favre said.

Favre has had a Pro Bowl season thus far in 2007 as he has completed 260 of 384 passes (67.7 percent) for 2,975 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions for a passer rating of 98.6. Favre also said, "If last season gave me hope, if I felt optimistic after our Chicago game last year at 8-8 and not making the playoffs, sure, I obviously have to feel a little bit better (about coming back), especially individually.

"The most important thing for me has been wins and being a part of those wins. I just know that feeling, regardless of how you play, is so much sweeter when you win. And to be sitting here at 9-1, I'd be lying to you if I said I was not ecstatic.

"Maybe we snuck up on some people and surprised a lot of people, maybe including me, maybe including other people around here. But the fact is, we're 9-1."

"There's a lot of factors that go into decision-making (about retirement). ... Physically, for the most part, I feel fine. I don't do some of the things I used to do quite as well, and I have to envision next year that would be a little bit worse. But as I said after the game the other day I'm enjoying the ride. it's been a lot of fun. But I don't want to stop here."

The Packers are in their most important stretch of the season. They can all but clinch the NFC North crown on Thursday by defeating the Lions. A victory over Detroit would give the Packers a four-game lead with five to play. Then a week after the Packers play on Thanksgiving, Green Bay travels to Dallas in what some think will be the game that will decide home field advantage in the NFC playoffs.

The December schedule will have the Packers playing Oakland at home, St. Louis on the road, Chicago on the road and then Detroit at home in the season finale. The Packers must continue to NOT look ahead, but to stay focused on each upcoming opponent. The mantra should be one play, one series, one game.


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