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Packers-Lions Series History: Thanksgiving Games (Part 2 of 4)

As mentioned in Part 1, I would write up Part 2 either today or Thursday. Today's post will talk about Packers-Lions games on Thanksgiving Day. Part 3 is now posted and Part 4 will be posted before the game on Sunday.

The two teams have been playing on Thanksgiving Day since the early 1950s. More after the jump.

While playing on Thanksgiving is an NFL tradition dating back to the beginning of the league, the Packers' first Thanksgiving game against the Lions was in 1951. The Lions won, 52-35, and they went on to win seven of their first eight Thanksgiving games against the Packers. The only Packers win during this time was in the 1956 game, which was a major upset at the time.

The two teams traded wins from 1959-1962, with the Packers winning in 1959 and 1961, and the Lions winning in 1960 and 1962. That 1962 game was the only game the 13-1 Packers lost on their way to the NFL Championship that year, as the Lions sacked Bart Starr ten times during the game. After a 13-13 tie in 1963, the Packers and Lions stopped playing on Thanksgiving for a while.

The next Packers-Lions Thanksgiving game wasn't until 1984. The Lions won, 31-28. Two years later, the Packers won 44-40 on Thanksgiving Day in the Silverdome, their first win on Thanksgiving Day since 1961.

In 2001, the most recent series of Thanksgiving games began between the Packers and Lions. The teams have played on Thanksgiving on 2001, 2003, 2007, and 2009 in this series. That 2001 game saw the Packers nearly blow a 29-13 lead, but they held on to win 29-27 in their last game at the Silverdome. The 2003 game is at present the last time the Lions won a Thanksgiving game. They forced Favre into three interceptions and won 22-14, nearly ending the Packers' already slim playoff hopes.

The 2007 game saw Favre complete 20 straight passes as the Packers erased an early 6-0 deficit. Green Bay went ahead 34-12, but it took a late Mason Crosby field goal to ensure a 37-26 Packers win. In 2009, the last time the Packers played on Thanksgiving, Aaron Rodgers won in his first Thanksgiving Day start, helped along by an interception return touchdown by Charles Woodson which sealed a 34-12 Packers win.

What are your memories of the Packers playing the Lions on Thanksgiving?