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Lions have lost their Turkey Day touch
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DETROIT — The Green Bay Packers are hoping to bolster their postseason chances with a win at Detroit on Thanksgiving.

Recent history suggests the Lions will be accommodating hosts.

Detroit has lost five straight games on the holiday by an average of 23.4 points since beating the Packers in 2003, and its worst game this season was at Green Bay.

The Lions (2-8), though, are enjoying a positive buzz they haven't had since starting 6-2 two years ago. They rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat Cleveland last Sunday for the franchise's biggest comeback victory since 1957.

"Our locker room is on a high right now," Detroit center Dominic Raiola said. "We're motivated to keep it that way after we were embarrassed at Green Bay. We have something to prove to the Packers, and everybody else watching us on national TV. The last time we were on national TV, last Thanksgiving, we got embarrassed by Tennessee.

"We've got to put our foot down and start winning this game. Since I've been here, we've only beat Green Bay. The Lions used to not lose on Thanksgiving."

The Lions slump on Thanksgiving — losing seven of eight — has been bad enough to put them one game under .500 in their annual showcase.

Detroit won four straight and nine of 12 on Thanksgiving before ex-general manager Matt Millen arrived in 2001, taking Raiola in his first draft, and turned a lackluster franchise into a laughingstock.

First-year coach Jim Schwartz has tried to stress the importance of Detroit's traditional game to his players.

"It's not just everybody watching, it's everybody with relatives meeting up with families," Schwartz said. "They're all just sitting around the living room waiting for the turkey and the apple pie and they're going to turn the game on.

"There's some urgency to it from the standpoint that you're on national television and there's a pride thing."

Detroit's chances to win — or at least be entertaining — will be directly tied to the health of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.

Stafford (shoulder) and Johnson (hand/knee) were both hurt in Sunday's win over the Browns and were unable to practice two days later in Detroit's only full practice of the week. Stafford was listed as doubtful and Johnson questionable.

New York Giants (6-4) at Denver (6-4)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.  — The New York Giants just escaped their own month of misery. So they understand the seething frustration and loss of poise in Denver, where sideline shoves, the head coach's cockiness and players-only meetings are all the buzz.

The Broncos (6-4) have lost four in a row and blown what was once a 3½-game division cushion. The Giants (6-4) snapped their own four-game slid, which cost them the NFC East lead, by beating Atlanta in overtime Sunday.

The two second-place teams meet Thursday night at Invesco Field as the Broncos host their first Thanksgiving game since 1963 in the AFL.

Denver is at the low point of the season following a 32-3 thrashing Sunday at the hands of the San Diego Chargers, who supplanted them atop the AFC West. Broncos coach Josh McDaniels exchanged heated words with some of San Diego's linebackers during warmups, then watched his team come undone with silly penalties and an ugly sideline spat while losing both its composure and its fourth straight game.

Oakland (3-7) at Dallas (7-3)

IRVING, Texas — Greg Ellis spent the last few years bracing for his release from the Dallas Cowboys. So when it happened in June, it didn't sting too badly.

He even started looking at the bright side — like finally getting to spend Thanksgiving with his family after 11 years of playing on the holiday.

Then he signed with the Oakland Raiders and Al Davis broke the news to him.

"Greg," Davis said, "guess who you are going to play on Thanksgiving?"

"My wife was not too happy about that," Ellis said, chuckling. "She was like, 'Man, you leave Dallas and you STILL have to miss Thanksgiving with us?!'"

Ellis and the Raiders (3-7) have the chance to jump-start a season that's already included a pair of three-game losing streaks. However, they are 1-0 under new starting quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, having beaten division-leading Cincinnati this past Sunday. Now they have a chance to knock off another division leader.

Dallas (7-3) is vulnerable, too.

The Cowboys have been shut out over the first three quarters in their last two games, a loss at Green Bay and a 7-6 win at home over Washington. Quarterback Tony Romo was kneed in the back by the Redskins and is still sore. He also might be without his favorite target, tight end Jason Witten, questionable with a sprained left foot.