Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions made playoffs together 7 years ago

Steve Brownlee

I was digging around the Internet (use one of those little garden trowels, you get less dirt on yourself that way) looking to answer this question for today’s column — When was last time the Packers and the Lions were in the playoffs during the same season like they are this season?

I figured there was a good chance it was whenever the last time the Lions made it, as it seems a given most of the time that Green Bay will be there.

And actually, I was right in that the last Lions’ appearance, 2016 (actually early 2017), coincided with a Packers berth, too. And also, the Packers have been in three other times since then, four if you count this year.

That was all told to me by the website called Champs or Chumps at champsorchumps.us, something I discovered in an Google internet search. Never heard of it before this.

It’s a fairly sparse-looking website that seems made for finding information rather than dressed up with 5 millions bells and whistles, even with all those little skinny pop-up ads spread all over the place so the owners can make some money. That’s fine with me.

I was able to look at the Lions and the Packers playoff histories going all the way back to 1934, the first year the NFL apparently started its playoffs. I don’t know, before that was it just a two-team NFL with the Packers and Bears playing when the ground froze over in Kenosha, Wisconsin, or Joliet, Illinois, for the title?

Anyway, the Lions have won four NFL titles and made the playoffs 18 times in the 90 years the team has been in Detroit — what I know of their history is that the Lions previously were the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans, apparently from 1930-33 from what the website implied, as it said those were the “Years the team was not located in Detroit” without going into further detail.

The Packers, meanwhile, have won 10 NFL titles and made the playoffs 36 times in its 103-year history, 91 of them years the playoffs were offered.

So Green Bay has made the playoffs exactly twice as many times as Detroit and won 2 1/2 times more titles.

It seems a lot more lopsided than that, doesn’t it?

Then I looked at Detroit’s playoff droughts — before this season, it was a six-year dry spell, hardly anything compared to seven straight from 1984-90, 11 straight twice (2000-10 and 1971-81), 12 in a row one time (1958-69) and even 16 straight (1936-51).

However, around the 1936-51 drought was their 1935 title just before that, and championships in 1952, 1953 and 1957 right after with a championship game appearance in 1954.

Green Bay, meanwhile, hasn’t gone more than two years in a row with missing the playoffs this century; they were only left out in 2022, 2018, 2017, 2008, 2006, 2005 and 2000.

But there were droughts approaching Detroit’s before that — four in a row from 1968-71, nine straight from 1983-92, 10 consecutive from 1983-92 and a 15-in-a-row whopper from 1945-59.

Now I understand why Vince Lombardi is so beloved by Packers’ fans — he came along in the early ’60s just in time to end that most massive drought.

So while only an NFL historian like Bill Belichick might appreciate all this, it’s time to look at this week’s wild card round (they call it the Super Wild Card Round after they added one more game for each conference a couple years ago):

Games are listed chronologically with the seedings, records and TV coverage (where there’s any):


AFC No. 5 Cleveland (11-6) at No. 4 Houston (10-7), 4:30 p.m. Saturday, NBC — I was kind of bummed-out when I saw this matchup, only because I think BOTH these teams can be dark horses to make a run at the Baltimore Ravens for the conference title.

Forced to choose between them, there’s a big sore thumb, though they shouldn’t be the ones who will be sore, that being Cleveland’s defense. Very possibly the best in the league, that doesn’t bode well for a rookie quarterback, despite the accomplishments of the Texans’ C.J. Stroud, in an opening-round playoff game. And that’s even with Stroud getting to play at home.

Led by veteran QB Joe Flacco, he of the sitting-on-his-couch fame at this year’s midseason, I’ll take the Browns, 24-16.


AFC No. 6 Miami (11-6) at No. 3 Kansas City (11-6), 8 p.m. Saturday, Peacock — “Peacock” is becoming the code word for “not on TV,” that is unless you want to pay $6.99 or whatever it is to get it on your computer or phone. Even though I’ve had a smart iPhone 13 Pro for about a year (and know how to use about 25% of it, I’m guessing), the diagonal measurement of it as a TV screen is a whopping 6 inches.

I’ll just have to read about this game, or watch highlights on SportsCenter, or actually, there will probably be a replay of it on the NFL Network at 4 a.m. Sunday. For free!

So about this game, the case was made for me when I heard that a South Florida team whose QB Tua Tagovailoa (I can’t spell that without help, but I can knock out Giannis Antetokounmpo in two seconds) hardly has ever played in the cold will be headed to a Midwest city with a forecast temperature of 3 degrees — and wind chill of minus-30 — at kickoff.

As I like to say, ‘Nuff said. Chiefs, 20-10.


AFC No. 7 Pittsburgh (10-7) at No. 2 Buffalo (11-6), 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS — They’re getting all three AFC games out of the way before the NFC even starts. Hmm, I thought it would’ve been the other way around.

So the Steelers have been barely hanging in there, and now T.J. Watt is out this week. Buffalo has found the Fountain of Offense since changing that coordinator, so this seems to be a slam dunk. Probably not, so I’ll take the Bills, 24-22.


NFC No. 7 Green Bay (9-8) at No. 2 Dallas (12-5), 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Fox — I’d so like to take the Packers because I’m so sick of everyone saying how terrible the Cowboys would have to be to lose to the Packers, blah, blah, blah….

Look, Dallas should be favored, heck, they’ve won 15 or 16 in a row at home. But there’s a reason there’s also talk that Mike McCarthy should be fired if he loses — the Cowboys choke in the playoffs, and choke consistently. And this is the playoffs. As former Saints coach Jim Mora said, “Don’t talk about playoffs? You kiddin’ me? Playoffs? I just hope we can win a game?”

Just massage that a bit and it could apply to Dallas. Unfortunately, this youngest-playoff-team-since-1974 Packers group probably needs another year of seasoning. Look on the bright side, because there really is one for this team even if they’re one and done now. And maybe they aren’t. But I have to take the Cowboys, 33-26.


NFC No. 6 Los Angeles Rams (10-7) at No. 3 Detroit (12-5), 8 p.m., NBC — Can the Lions really double their playoff win total of my lifetime? If they win this one, they certainly will.

I can see Dan Campbell getting this team overhyped, which will work if they’re up 48-0 at halftime. But that only happens about once every three or four blue moons, so there might be an adrenaline crash in the second half if they don’t prepare the right way.

Instead, give ’em a slightly more reasonable 24-0 halftime lead, then watch Matthew Stafford lead the Rams on the game-winning drive. OK, let’s calling it the “potential game-winning drive.” I’ll go with this Detroit team pulling this one out of the fire, just to raise expectations for future years, before reality sets in next week. Lions, 30-27.


NFC No. 5 Philadelphia (11-6) at No. 4 Tampa Bay (9-8), 8:15 p.m. Monday, ABC and ESPN — Looks like a mismatch if you compare records. But look at their last six games — Tampa is 5-1 and Philly is 1-5. Another mismatch, just in the other direction.

I’m watching the NFL analysts showing how Philadelphia will repeatedly send two pass defenders to cover the same guy and another runs untouched for a 50-yard touchdown. Don’t matter if you do or don’t have injured safeties and cornerbacks for stuff like that, then with similar flubs committed by their offense.

I’ll call these guys the L.A. Chargers of the playoffs — radioactive. Don’t touch! Buccaneers, 22-9.


Last week — 13-3 (best week of the season), 81 percent. Regular season — 174-98, 64 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 552. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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