Who is the Detroit Lions' biggest rival? That's actually a good question that doesn't have the easiest of answers. When you think of rivalries in football, your mind always seems to go to teams that have had some modicum of success in their history. Rivalries like the Cowboys and Redskins or Colts and Patriots are held in such high regard because these teams have achieved greatness in their history. The Lions unfortunately don't fit that bill.
Therefore, it's hard to understand what rivalry sticks out the most for the Lions, especially because the Lions spent many years being dominated by the rest of the division. The question remains, however. I believe the fans have the best answer. Today I'll be making some cases for each potential rivalry and let the fans make the choice. Let's start in the Windy City. But first let's see what Lions fans think off the top of their heads.
Off the top of your head, which team is the Lions biggest rivals?— Mike Payton (@POD_Payton) July 5, 2016
The Chicago Bears
I believe that if you were to ask Lions fans which fans do they dislike the most, a great deal of them will say the Bears. After all, when Packers fans say their team is great, it's because they actually are. Bears fans, not so much. Because of this, it's always a blast to see the Lions beat the Bears.
But does that make it the biggest rivalry? The two teams have been playing this game since 1930. Outside of the Bears' feud with the Packers, this is one of those games that makes you feel like you're watching old time football. The Bears have the all-time edge on the Lions, which is sadly no surprise. Of the 172 times these two teams have squared off, the Bears have won 96 times. History says Bears vs. Lions is a lopsided rivalry.
But as my colleagues Alex Reno and Ryan Mathews will let you know on any given occasion, "the Lions own the Bears." They may have a point there. The Lions are 7-5 against the Bears since 2010, winning the last six match-ups and looking to win the next two. Is it a rivalry if the Lions "own the Bears?"
Some would think that if Bears vs. Packers is the big rivalry of the NFC North, then the Lions vs. Vikings would be the little one? Maybe. But history says otherwise. The Vikings have won 71 of the 109 meetings and have owned (or tied) the matchup with the Lions in every decade since the 1960's. The Vikings clearly dominate the Lions -- or so it may seem.
In recent history the Lions and Vikings are split right down the middle. Since 2010, each team has won six games over the other. The latest series of games had the Vikings handling the Lions. In fact, they should be convicted of attempted murder for what they did to Matthew Stafford in the first meeting of the season. The Vikings, of course, went on to win the division while the Lions finished third.
For me personally, I can't say this is the one. First off, I have no problems with Vikings fans. I find them easy to get along with and they tend to occasionally cheer on the Lions for some reason. I also find the Lions vs Vikings games to be the most boring of the bunch. I love to watch them, but nothing spectacular is going to happen, and I'm not prepared for that to change.
The Green Bay Packers
This may very well be the one. In fact, in the article that inspired this piece, ESPN's own Lions beat writer Michael Rothstein selected the Packers as his pick:
The Packers have been the dominant team in the NFC North for the past decade or so and the organization has tormented Detroit over the years, from last year's Hail Mary to a crushing Brett Favre-to-Sterling Sharpe touchdown with 55 seconds left to beat the Lions in the playoffs. Then there's the Lions' 24-game losing streak in Wisconsin that was snapped last season and even a recent social media kerfuffle that ended with the Packers besting the Lions. Again.
Ok your first thought has to be "how can this be a rivalry? The Packers have beat the Lions every single year since 1991." That's just it. The fact that the Packers have seem to work over the Lions for so many years and the fact that they always seem to be good, makes you want to tune in just so you can see if the Lions can beat them this time.
This rivalry has drastically changed in the 2010's. Sure the Packers are 7-4 against the Lions since 2010. But they are 3-3 against the Lions since 2013 and every game has presented something extremely entertaining and monumental. Don't believe me? Check this out.
- Lions end Thanksgiving losing streak
- Lions hold Aaron Rodgers to 162 yards
- Lions and Packers play for NFC North division title
- Lions end 24 year losing streak in Green Bay
- Aaron Rodgers throws incredible Hail Mary after fake face mask
What could possibly happen next? I can't tell you right now, but we will find out soon enough as the Lions and Packers will square off in Green Bay in Week 3. Can the Lions win in Lambeau again? Can they sweep the Packers for the first time since 1991? Or will the Packers reestablish their dominance?
What do you think Lions fans? Has your mind changed? Or is it still the same? Who is the Lions biggest rival and why? Be sure to leave your comments below.