Consecutive Thursday games put Lions in odd mood

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Kyle Van Noy (53) was traded to New England this week.

Allen Park — Lions guard Laken Tomlinson noticed fewer cars on the road during his commute Sunday.

Other than that, the Lions' odd week of preparation for their second consecutive Thursday game feels just like a normal week.

The Lions and Packers play Thursday night at Ford Field a week after both teams played on Thanksgiving, a rare schedule for the teams as most teams have extended time off following the short week preceding a Thursday game.

The Bears and Cowboys had the same timeline last year as Chicago hosted Dallas after each team played on the holiday, with the Bears in Detroit.

With the unique schedule, the Lions just moved their plans ahead to mirror a typical game week, so Sunday was effectively a Wednesday in terms of practice and meetings. Still, safety Glover Quin thought it was odd watching on TV players around the league walk into stadiums on a day he treated like a Wednesday.

"It's actually very weird," Quin said. "Our bodies are so trained for routine, so today is really Wednesday to me, but in the real world it's Sunday."

After this Thursday's game, both the Lions and Packers will have a reprieve with a few extra days before their Week 14 games on Sunday.

Playing a Thursday game often throws off a team's schedule. It's fair in that both teams have the same limitations, but players that need a standard week to recover from injuries might have to sit on the short week. That hardly affected the Lions last week against the Eagles, but it doesn't mean all the players available were at their best.

"I can tell you from ground level, I can tell you when you don't have guys operating at their absolute best it's going to diminish the quality of play," coach Jim Caldwell said.

Packers right guard T.J. Lang said most players don't like preparing for a game on short rest.

"I'm not a big fan of it just because I feel like it puts guys at risk for injury," he said. "But … everybody's got to do it."

Fortunately for the Lions, if the odd schedule has any impact, they can avoid some of the perils as they play at home.

"You can always find a positive," Quin said. "Green Bay has to do the same exact thing, and they played a little later than we played on Thanksgiving and then they got to travel to us. So they're probably like, the NFL got them a little tougher.

"It is what it is. We're all in the same boat. They've got to come play. We've got to go play. No need to complain about it."