Who Are The Detroit Lions' Biggest Rivals?

Who Are The Detroit Lions Biggest Rivals

The Detroit Lions’ biggest rivals are the Green Bay Packers, the Chicago Bears, and the Minnesota Vikings. These four teams are some of the oldest and most popular NFL franchises, and together they make up the NFC North division. Nicknamed the “Black and Blue” Division, the NFC North has always been known for tough, physical defenses and ground-and-pound running attacks on offense. The Lions’ rivalries with their three divisional opponents, while lopsided, have certainly lived up to that hard-nosed standard of football, and stand as some of the NFL’s best rivalries.

Green Bay Packers

The Lions’ rivalry with the Green Bay Packers is the NFL’s oldest rivalry. In true Detroit Lions fashion, the rivalry with the Packers has been a one-sided affair. The two teams have faced each other 187 times as of 2023, and the Lions hold a record of 75-105-7. They have played twice each regular season since 1932. Despite this long history, these rivals have met in the playoffs only twice, in NFC Wild Card matchups at the conclusion of the 1993 and 1994 seasons. The Packers were victorious in both instances.

While the Lions have come up short more often than not, there have been a few bright spots for the team. From 1949 to 1954, the Lions won 11 straight games against the Packers. The Lions of this era were led by quarterback Bobby Layne and halfback Jimmy “The Hatchet” David, who earned his nickname by using any means necessary to injure opponents. These rough-and-tumble Lions teams rattled off three World Championships during the 1950s. Since that decade, the Lions have not been able to recreate their past success, and from 2001-2013 they won only three games against Green Bay. However, as of 2023, the Lions are riding a three-game win streak. For Lions fans, this is a welcome sight and a glimmer of hope for the future.

Chicago Bears

The Lions’ rivalry with the Bears shares many similarities with the Packers rivalry. Once again, the Lions have not fared well at all against the Bears. The Lions have faced the Bears 186 times in the regular season as of 2023, holding a record of 77-104-5, and the teams have never met in the playoffs. The Lions’ best run of success came from 1968-1973, when they won 11 of 12 meetings. For much of the history of the matchup, the games were played on Thanksgiving Day. 

In more recent years, there have been a few high-profile games that continue the old rivalry tradition. At Ford Field in 2011, the Lions took down the Bears by a score of 24-13 on Monday Night Football. This game was significant as it marked the first time since 1956 that the Lions started a season with a 5-0 record. In 2020, also at Ford Field, the Bears overcame a 17-point second half deficit to win 27-23. This game is remembered by Lions fans for running back D’Andre Swift dropping a Matthew Stafford touchdown pass on the second-to-last play of the game, resulting in a Bears victory.

Minnesota Vikings

The history of this rivalry is even more lopsided than the Lions’ other two NFC North rivalries. In 123 meetings as of 2023, the Lions sport the unimpressive record of 41-80-2. The Vikings joined the NFL in 1961, and for the first few years of the rivalry, the Lions actually dominated. Detroit won six of the first seven meetings through 1964. Since then, though, the tide has shifted remarkably resulting in the current lopsided state of the rivalry. Incredibly, from 1968-1974, the Lions lost 13 straight contests against the Vikings.

The few instances where Detroit has managed to string three wins in a row against the Vikings are the bright spots for Lions fans. This happened in 1991 and 1992 for the first time since the moon landing, with legendary running back Barry Sanders leading the way. The Lions would not win three straight again until 2011, led by quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson. The winning streak was highlighted by the Lions’ win in September 2011 in Minneapolis, where they came back from a 20-point deficit. In the most recent meeting, in December 2022, the Lions defeated the division-winning Vikings 34-23.


Who is the biggest rival of the Detroit Lions?

The Detroit Lions’ biggest rival is the Green Bay Packers. This is in fact the NFL’s oldest rivalry, and the teams have faced one another a total of 187 times as of 2023. The Lions have a record of 75-105-7 all-time against the Packers, including two postseason losses. By the end of the 2022 season, the Lions had put together a three-game winning streak against the Packers.