Well, there's no point in sugarcoating it: Nov. 10 has been ugly for the Detroit Lions. A 3-7 record on Sunday's date makes that clear enough, and there haven't been many bright spots on the day. Before losing in Wisconsin became a theme for Detroit, the Lions played their first Nov. 10 game against the Green Bay Packers back in 1935. The Pack pounded the Lions, mainly through the air, en route to a 31-7 win.
After the loss in Green Bay, Detroit experienced its only stretch of positive play on Nov. 10 during a three-game winning streak from 1940-57. In that span, the Lions first topped the Chicago Bears in '40. Unlike the Packers game, this time it was the Lions that dominated via their aerial attack, as back Charles "Cotton" Price tossed the game-winning touchdown with under a minute remaining. Six years later, Detroit controlled the passing game yet again, this time in a victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Lions offense scored touchdowns on passes of 72 and 88 yards as the defense held Pittsburgh's rushing attack, which included league-leading rusher Bill Dudley, to just 28 yards. The victory ended up being Detroit's only win in the '46 season.
Following the '40s, the Lions finished up the three-game Nov. 10 winning streak with a road win against the Philadelphia Eagles in 1957. After sitting out the start of the game with a rib injury, a hobbled Bobby Layne took control of the offense late in the first quarter and led the Lions to victory. Layne finished the game 8 for 13 for 147 and 3 touchdowns. According to the Los Angeles Times, "[a]t one stretch in the second quarter, Layne completed six in a row, every other one a touchdown." The win ended up helping the Lions win the '57 NFL championship, and as of today, it's the most recent victory for the franchise on Nov. 10.
For the six games that followed the win in '57, there isn't much to say, other than the fact that they were all losses. Detroit dropped two games against the Baltimore Colts in the '60s, failed to do much of anything on the road against the Oakland Raiders in '74 and have lost three straight division games dating back to '85 against the Bears. The other two division games featured the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in '91 and the Packers in '02. Nov. 10 has been so ugly for the Lions that even the dominant '91 squad couldn't best the Bucs, which finished with a 3-13 record in '91. (4 turnovers by Erik Kramer didn't help in the Bucs game.) As for the most recent Nov. 10 game, 2002 was a pretty forgettable season for the Lions, and that Packers game was pretty unpleasant. Hopefully you've erased, or at least diminished, those memories.
The bottom line for Sunday is that this year's Detroit team isn't any of the teams that have dropped the previous six Nov. 10 games. The last time the Lions won a game on Sunday's date, they relied on a masterful passing attack. That sounds like the 2013 version of the Lions to me. Against the Bears on Sunday, Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and company should be firing on all cylinders after a bye week, and I expect that in a handful of years, when another game falls on Nov. 10, the Lions will have a better record for the date.
Overall record on Nov. 10
'35 at Green Bay Packers, 7-31
'40 vs. Chicago Bears, 17-14
'46 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 17-7
'57 at Philadelphia Eagles, 27-16
'63 at Baltimore Colts, 21-24
'68 vs. Baltimore Colts, 10-27
'74 at Oakland Raiders, 13-35
'85 at Chicago Bears, 3-24
'91 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 21-30
'02 at Green Bay Packers, 14-40