The Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packer rivalry is one of the most storied in the NFL.
Sharing a division since the ‘30s, the Lions and Packers have met twice a year, every year, for nearly a century.
Despite the shared division and frequency of meetings, it’s been difficult to classify the Lions vs. Packers as much of a rivalry of late.
The Packers have won 21 of 25 contests since the turn of the century and have won 20 straight at home, with the Lions last victory in the state of Wisconsin coming in 1991.
Despite the lopsided stat sheet, a rivalry does exist between the two franchises.
“They’re a division team, there better be (a rivalry),” said Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. “We haven’t won in Lambeau for about 20 years or whatever it’s been. Anytime you have division opponents you play them twice a year there is definitely a rivalry there, even if it’s been one-sided. It’s our job to get that back. Playing close games isn’t enough. We have to come out with a win.”
What has happened over the last two decades doesn’t concern most players, many of whom were in grade school for the majority of that time.
“It’s more of one of those media statistics where the guys really don’t care about it,” said Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings, who has been on the winning end of the rivalry since coming into the league six years ago. “I mean, they haven’t been around for all those games so they can care less about it. You want to be the team that breaks that streak, but at the same time I don’t think they’re too much worried about that. They have nothing to lose.”
Jennings is correct, most of the current Lions have no memory of the majority of games these teams have played since ’91.
“Obviously, we haven’t won in the last four years, which is what we’re worried about,” said Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. “We want to go in there and put a good game together, like we did last time, and come out on top.”
The Lions have seemed to somewhat close the gap on the Packers. There was a run from 2006-09 that featured seven Packers victories by double-digit margins. Since, the two teams have played five games with all but one being decided by four points or less.
Still, a loss is a loss and a close defeat can sting more.
“We had them against the ropes last time. We had all the chances to win,” said defensive tackle Corey Williams, referring to last year’s shootout that the Packers won with the arm of back-up Matt Flynn. “The salty taste is still in our mouth for that. We’re going to go into Lambeau and execute the game plan… Hopefully we come away with that win this time.”
As the 2012 season approaches a conclusion, it appears the Lions will not be successful in accomplishing some of the goals that they presumably set. However, being able to snap a losing streak that spans two decades would allow for some positive reflection on the season.