Well, it might be best to overlook the 16th of December when looking at Detroit Lions history. With only two wins sandwiched between two losing streaks, there aren't many bright spots for the date. It started back in 1951, when the Lions lost a close one against the San Francisco 49ers. Following that, Detroit went on to lose three in a row against the Chicago Bears before exacting revenge and topping the Bears in '90. 11 years passed, and then the Lions beat the Minnesota Vikings in '01 for the second and most recent win on Dec. 16. Currently, they've lost two in a row: a 51-14 beatdown by the San Diego Chargers and last year's ugly loss in Arizona. Since it's the holiday season, let's focus on the wins, ignore the bad and hope to add a third victory on Monday night.
Best Game: 1990 - Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears, 38-21
In a game that essentially didn't matter (at least for Detroit), Rodney Peete turned in a career day, as he led the Lions in a rout of the Bears. Two weeks earlier, Chicago clinched the division in a victory over Detroit, and the Lions, with a 4-9 record at the time, did all they could in the way of revenge. Looking to move closer to a first-round bye in the playoffs with a win, the Bears started the game with a rushing touchdown in the first quarter. However, the Lions would erase the 7-0 deficit and then some in the second. Peete was the star of the show that quarter, throwing for 3 touchdown passes to give Detroit a 21-7 lead at halftime. He'd throw for another in the third before Barry Sanders and Eddie Murray finished the scoring to give the Lions a 38-21 win.
On the day, Peete finished 18 for 27 for 316 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Both the passing yards and touchdowns were career highs for Rodney at the time, and if not for a 323-yard performance in '92, they'd still both be career bests for him.
Honorable Mention: 2001 - Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings, 27-24
This game wasn't memorable. The entire 2001 season wasn't memorable. I'm only including this game because it's one of two wins for the Lions on Dec. 16. Before beating the Vikings, the Lions were 0-12 and a winless season sat on the horizon. That all changed when Mike McMahon decided to throw for 241 yards and run for 74 more. He didn't turn the ball over and added his lone touchdown on the ground. His solid play paired with a Todd Lyght pick-six, a couple of Jason Hanson field goals and a game-winning touchdown by Cory "The Breaker of Facemasks" Schlesinger (I don't know about you, but I miss that guy) proved to be enough to edge out the blond-haired Norsemen. After the victory, a sigh of relief spread through Detroit as the dreaded 0-16 season had been averted. If only we had known what lay ahead...
Overall record on Dec. 16
'51 at San Francisco 49ers, 17-21
'56 at Chicago Bears, 21-38
'62 at Chicago Bears, 0-3
'84 vs. Chicago Bears, 13-30
'90 vs. Chicago Bears, 38-21
'01 vs. Minnesota Vikings, 27-24
'07 at San Diego Chargers, 14-51
'12 at Arizona Cardinals, 10-38