The Lions played at home on Thanksgiving every year since 1934 outside of when games were put on hold from 1939-1944 for World War II. Detroit has been far from a successful franchise during its run in the NFL, so why do they receive a national audience on Thanksgiving every year?
George Richards purchased the Portsmouth Spartans and moved the franchise to Detroit in 1934 and scheduled a matchup against the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving of that year as a marketing ploy.
The game resulted in a 19-16 win for the Bears with 26,000 fans in attendance from the University of Detroit Stadium, but the NFL on Thanksgiving has been a staple in Detroit ever since. Thirty-two years later, the Dallas Cowboys started hosting games on Turkey Day.
The Lions are 37-42-2 in their games on Thanksgiving, and the Cowboys are 31-22-1. The Bears have played plenty of Thanksgiving games with a 20-15-2 record, and the Green Bay Packers are 14-14-2 in their franchise history on Turkey Day.
Detroit players hold plenty of Thanksgiving records with Matthew Stafford and Tony Romo tied for the lead with 18 touchdown passes on Turkey Day. The most receiving touchdowns belongs to Calvin Johnson (11), and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah had 8.5 career sacks on Thanksgiving.
The Lions are 9.5-point underdogs on DraftKings Sportsbook with the over/under set at 54.5 against the Bills.