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Matthew Stafford on Thanksgiving Day Game

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Matthew Stafford Talks About Playing in Thanksgiving Day Game

Where the Vikings rank in the NFC teams they have played this year: 
“They’re right up there, really good team. They’re doing a really nice job on offense right now, putting up points. Case (Keenum) is throwing it around the yard doing a nice job. Those guys are making big plays and scoring points. And then on the defensive side, it’s same old story. A bunch of extremely talented guys that are disciplined, play the scheme extremely hard, and play well. So, we’ll have our work cut out for us.”

What he likes about playing the Thanksgiving Day game: “Tradition, I obviously was a Dallas kid. I grew up watching the Cowboys, and the Lions, and all that stuff for a long time. So, playing meaningful football on Thanksgiving is a whole lot of fun and this year should be no different.”

What is different about the atmosphere around Detroit and at Ford Field on Thanksgiving: “Yeah, it’s been happening here for a long time. So, the people in the city, they come out and support us great, and we appreciate it. Just a little bit of a different vibe. You’re one of a couple games on TV that day, and everybody’s sitting around with family eating a meal and watching football, and it’s fun to be part of the show.”

His best memory about playing in the Thanksgiving Day game: “That Eagles game a couple years ago was pretty fun. We had a good day on offense. Calvin (Johnson) lit them up. So, it was a lot of fun. But anytime you win on Thanksgiving it’s a blast. Turkey tastes a whole lot better, so it’s nice.”

If there is a must-win mentality going into Thursday’s game: “I think there’s a must-win mentality every time you step on the field. I feel like our guys in our locker room, we put a ton of effort into this, man. We work our tails off. We prepare to go out there and play well. And every time we go out there we want to win the game and put it all out there.”

If he expects Thursday’s game to feel like a playoff atmosphere: “Yeah, I mean it’s like I said, I mean you’re playing a division opponent in a nationally televised game. On a short week guys are going to be riding off adrenaline there for a little bit and it’s always fun. I love playing on Thanksgiving and playing a division opponent’s a lot of fun.”

How he spends Thanksgiving after the game: “Yeah, I mean probably like the majority of you guys. Just family and friends around, and eating a meal, and either got a smile or a frown on. But it’s been a smile the last couple times, trying to keep it that way.”

If Thanksgiving will be a little extra special with his daughters this year: “Yeah, it’ll be cool. I feel like all those firsts will be neat, Thanksgiving, Christmas, all that kind of stuff. They bring a lot of perspective to a lot of events that go on in life.”


  • The following players have been listed on the Detroit Lions’ Practice Report today: CB Jamal Agnew (knee), and RB Dwayne Washington (hip) did not practice. DE Ezekiel Ansah (back) was limited in practice. LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (ankle) participated in a full practice.
  • The following players have been listed on the Minnesota Vikings’ Practice Report today: T Mike Remmers (concussion), DE Brian Robison (lower back), and S Andrew Sendejo (groin/hamstring) were limited in practice. CB Mackensie Alexander (ankle), LB Emmanuel Lamur (knee), DE Everson Griffen (foot), S Anthony Harris (hamstring), and CB Xavier Rhodes (calf) participated in a full practice.

Detroit (6-4) welcomes Minnesota (8-2) to Ford Field for the Lions’ 78th annual Thanksgiving Day Classic. The Lions and Vikings have clashed before on Thanksgiving four times in the teams’ series history, including most recently in 2016 when Detroit won 16-13. In the two teams’ meeting earlier this season, Detroit defeated Minnesota 14-7 at U.S. Bank Stadium.