Everyone in the NFC North is nominally a rival of the Green Bay Packers. That’s the whole point of the divisional structure. You set teams up to see each other twice a year, add in a little regionalism, and sooner or later you’re going to manufacture some shared history.
The NFC North is fairly unique in this aspect because, in addition to those other factors, all three of the teams in the division had existing relationships long before the realignment that created the North, dating back to the NFC Central era and beyond. Nobody really needs an update on the Packers/Bears rivalry, there’s always been plenty of heat in the Packers’ relationship with the Vikings, and the Lions were a thorn in the side of the Lombardi-era Packers.
But while these teams might be the Packers’ rivals by definition, the rivalries themselves leave a little bit to be desired, especially in the case of the Lions, where the Packers can hardly be said to be keeping up their end of the bargain.
More pointedly: the Packers are the little brother in the Packers/Lions rivalry right now, and have been for a while.
As embarrassing as Thursday night’s loss was, the greater context is even worse. The Packers have lost four straight to the Lions, including two straight at Lambeau Field. Dating back to the start of the 2017 season, the Packers have lost eight of 13 matchups with the Lions. And in the five games they did win (all in a row from the start of 2019 through the first matchup of the 2021 season), the Packers took two games by a combined three points, winning both games on last-second field goals by Mason Crosby.
Outside of those five games, the Lions have actually been fairly dominant. Over the 13 games they’ve played since 2013, the Lions have outscored the Packers 337 to 280, including wins by 31 and 24 points. The Lions have notched four double-digit wins against the Packers in that span, twice as many as the Packers have managed over the Lions.
In short, the Lions beat up the Packers on Thursday, and it’s just the latest example in what’s becoming a pretty long-running trend.