By Stephen Dolan

The Lions on Thanksgiving is just like turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving. This year Detroit hosts to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.

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Play: Matthew Stafford (vs. PHI)

Stafford has been extremely steady this season for the Lions completing no more than 69.2 percent and no fewer than 60.4 percent of his passes in any game this season. He has only posted one game with more than 286 yards and one game with fewer than 203 yards on the year with a total of 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The Eagles defense has made a habit out of forcing turnovers but Stafford has shown the ability to put up decent numbers despite some interceptions.

Pass: Mark Sanchez (vs. DET)

Sanchez was brutal on Sunday against Tampa Bay throwing for 261 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. His decision-making was questionable thanks in large part to limited repetitions prior to the November 15 game against the Miami Dolphins when Sam Bradford went down with an injury. Bradford has cleared his concussion protocol but his status for the game is uncertain leaving Sanchez as the de facto starter. Either way, pass on Sanchez.

Running Back

Play: DeMarco Murray (vs. DET)

Murray was having a decent game on Sunday against the Buccaneers averaging 4.9 yards per carry, but the Eagles dug themselves such a hole that they were forced to abandon the run and go to the air to close the gap. Entering Sunday, Murray had posted 161 and 119 yards from scrimmage in each of the two previous games. Detroit is allowing 116.7 rushing yards per game which should give Murray some room to run on Thanksgiving.

Pass: Ameer Abdullah (vs. PHI)

Abdullah is still looking to top his first game of the season when he rushed seven times for 50 yards and a touchdown while also adding four catches for 44 yards. He has not rushed for more than 48 yards in any game since and he has topped out at 21 yards receiving in his next best game this season. He is facing an Eagles rush defense that was thrashed in three of the last four games after being one of the top rush defenses in the NFL. The Philadelphia defensive talent is still there which makes Abdullah a shaky play.

Wide Receiver

Play: Calvin Johnson (vs. PHI)

Johnson is nursing an ankle injury but is still expected to play on Thanksgiving. Megatron has not been nearly as dominant as he was in years past, but he is still having a productive season for an underperforming Lions team. He has posted 81 or more receiving yards in five straight games including a 166-yard performance against the Bears. The 6-foot-5, 237-pound wide out is a tough matchup and will likely be matched up against cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Nolan Carroll, so Johnson could be in for a big game.

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Pass: Jordan Matthews (vs. DET)

Matthews is dealing with a sophomore slump thanks in large part to dropped passes. He still has 55 receptions for a team-leading 565 yards and two touchdowns on the season, but there are inconsistencies in hauling in passes that hit his hands. He caught all four of his targets on Sunday but they only went for 13 yards and that comes on the heels of a three-catch, 21-yard performance a week earlier against the Dolphins. Detroit’s secondary has given up their share of yards but the Eagles receivers haven’t taken advantage of that in recent weeks. Pass on Matthews.

Tight End

Play: Brent Celek (vs. DET)

Celek has stepped up in the Philadelphia passing game over the last two weeks and he will be relied upon heavily on Thursday as tight end Zach Ertz is out with a concussion. Celek caught four passes for 134 yards two weeks ago against the Dolphins and followed that up by catching seven of his 10 targets for 79 yards on Sunday against the Buccaneers. He has a good rapport with Sanchez which should be good for the tight end on Thursday.

Pass: Eric Ebron (vs. PHI)

Ebron has big potential in the Detroit offense and it looked like he was tapping into that in the beginning of the season posting touchdowns in each of his first two games but he only has one touchdown since. Ebron has had just one game this season with more than 61 receiving yards and does not have a 100-yard game yet. The Eagles defense has been stingy against opposing tight ends this season making it a poor fantasy matchup for Ebron.


Play: Matt Prater (vs. PHI)

Pass: Caleb Sturgis (vs. DET)


Play: Eagles

Pass: Lions

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Steve Dolan is an MBA student at Villanova University and a graduate of the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University. Steve co-founded Whiz Wit Sports, a Philadelphia-centric sports blog, in March 2011 growing the site to win PHL 17’s Best Local Blogger on the Philly Hot List in 2013.