- Associated Press - Monday, November 22, 2010

FOXBOROUGH, MASS. (AP) - Matt Light was so busy preparing for his second game in five days that his usual quick wit slowed down.

Still sore from Sunday’s game, the Patriots left tackle expects coach Bill Belichick to give his players a few days off after their Thanksgiving Day game against the Lions.

“I think Bill will probably throw us a bone. We’ll have a late turkey day,” Light said Monday, a grin visible beneath his bushy red beard. “I should have said he’s going to throw us a wishbone. … Usually, I’m on top of that. It’s a long day. It’s a hard day.”

Make that three hard days.

New England had little time to savor its big 31-28 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Up for grabs in the final minute, the game went the Patriots way when James Sanders leaped for an interception at his 6-yard line with 36 seconds left, the third pick of the game against Peyton Manning.

“It would be nice to be able to sit around and put your feet up on the table and enjoy last night’s game for a little bit,” said Belichick, who didn’t spend much time watching film of the victory, “but we’re on to Detroit.”

They switched their focus on Monday with a walkthrough. The first full practice is scheduled for Tuesday, a day earlier than normal. The flight to Detroit is Wednesday. And kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. EST Thursday.

No wonder Light planned to hit the sack at 9:30 Monday night.

“There’s a lot coming at you,” he said. “You’ve got to squeeze a lot in when you normally have the extra couple of days. We started on it today.”

The Lions also have to speed up their preparations after Sunday’s 35-19 road loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

But they’re used to playing every Thanksgiving at home. The Patriots last played in that game in 2002 when they beat the Lions 20-12. Two years earlier, Detroit topped New England on Thanksgiving 34-9.

Belichick figures that playing in the annual game helps the Lions, the team he worked for in 1976 and 1977 as an assistant coach.

“It’s great to be in this routine,” he said. “Having been in Detroit for two years, it was a game that you knew every year was your game. You knew you were going to be playing at home.

“It was something you were comfortable with and you actually looked forward to and (you) didn’t have to travel, all those kinds of things. I think it’s a great game for Detroit, the Lions, the city and for football.”

The Patriots, though, seem to have a huge edge on paper. Their record, 8-2, is a mirror image of the Lions‘ 2-8.

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