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Lions anticipating second-largest home game crowd in Ford Field's 20-year history


Allen Park — Based on ticket sales for Thursday's game against the Buffalo Bills, the Detroit Lions are anticipating the second-largest home crowd in Ford Field's 20-year history.

Fans with tickets should plan on arriving well before the 12:30 p.m. kickoff to compensate for traffic related to downtown holiday festivities, namely the annual Thanksgiving parade and the Turkey Trot 10K run. Woodward Avenue will be closed, starting Wednesday, from West Grand Blvd. to Congress. It is advised that fans exit the freeway on the side of Woodward where they intend to park.

Ford Field's home-game record attendance was set in 2011, when the team hosted the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. The 65,000-seat venue packed in 67,861 for that primetime contest. That figure remains safe, but the Lions are expecting a Thanksgiving crowd north of 66,000, which is tracking to top the holiday classic attendance of 66,613 from 2017, which currently checks in as the No. 2 most-attended game at the stadium.

"That was one of the first things I thought of after (the Giants) game on the plane ride home," Lions coach Dan Campbell said this week. "It’s been good. I mean, it’s been electric, and I can only imagine now. I already know it’s going to be on fire."

Entering Thursday, the Lions are averaging 62,194 fans at Ford Field this season. That marks more than a 20% increase from last season, when the team ranked last in the league in home attendance.

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers