On Thursday, the division-rival Vikings (8-2) and Lions (6-4) will face off for the 113th time since 1961.
The matchup will mark Minnesota's eighth Thanksgiving Day game in franchise history and fifth at Detroit.
Both teams will be coming off a short week and will be looking to add a win in the NFC North. Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell and quarterback Matthew Stafford talked Monday and Tuesday about the Vikings current six-game win streak and success that Minnesota has had on offense and defense.
"They're a very good team, they're on a roll," Caldwell said. "They do everything well. They're moving the ball up and down the field, they're making big plays. They've always played great defense, and their special teams are very good."
Stafford echoed the coach's thoughts.
"They're doing a really nice job on offense right now, putting up points. Case [Keenum] is throwing it around the yard and doing a nice job; those guys are making big plays and scoring points," Stafford said. "And then on the defensive side, it's the same-old story: a bunch of extremely talented guys that are disciplined, play the scheme extremely hard and play well. So we'll have our work cut out for us."
Caldwell on Keenum:
Caldwell told media members that he sees a "lot of things" to like about Keenum and the way he's performed after having to step in as Minnesota's starting quarterback after Week 1.
In addition to identifying Keenum as a good leader, Caldwell emphasized that he's "gutsy" as well as mobile.
"He can make all kinds of throws," Caldwell said. "Some of the throws they've made have been quite incredible – inside, obviously, the interior, down the field, outside – I mean, he's been able to do it all. Just a very heady player. I think everybody who's watched him of late realizes that he's quite a talent."
Stafford on facing the Vikings defense:
Stafford, who has been sacked more times (48) in his career by the Vikings than by any other defense, said he's aware of the stout defensive front he'll be facing. But he's not one to get anxious about a particular unit.
"I think you have a plan as a passer when you go in and play a team, understand what their strengths and weaknesses are and how to attack them," Stafford said. "This team is no different."
Stafford and Caldwell on the significance of the game:
Both teams' players and coaches have emphasized throughout the week that it's important to keep a grounded approach heading into Thursday's game and that every game during the season has the same level of significance.
Stafford communicated a similar concept but acknowledged the weight of division matchups.
"We're playing a really good team, a team that's hot, a team that's leading our division at the moment," Stafford said. "Those games kind of count for two. If you can win them, it not only gives yourself a win but guarantees them a loss that week."
Caldwell said he's learned from experience not to put the cart before the horse.
"We just take these games one at a time," Caldwell said. "We're not worried about ramifications or all of the buildup and things of that nature. We're worried about how we play, and that's what our goal is, to get focused in on our preparation and get ready to play a tough, hard-fought game."