The country gets to watch the Detroit Lions to kickoff Thanksgiving every year, but when’s the last time they won on the holiday?
Outside of a multi-year interruption for World War II (1939-1944), the Detroit Lions have played on Thanksgiving Day every year since 1934. With no championships since 1957 and no playoff wins since the 1991 season, that is much to chagrin of some NFL fans. It seems there is a chance, however down the road, the Lions will lose their guaranteed nationally televised game every year.
Last year’s 16-14 loss to the Chicago Bears dropped the Lions’ all-time record on Thanksgiving Day to 37-43-2. As a heavy underdog to the Buffalo Bills this year, they’re most likely to make it 37-44-2.
A Thanksgiving Day loss to the Houston Texans in 2020 led to the firing of head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn two days later.
It’s easy to assume the Lions haven’t won on Thanksgiving Day in quite awhile…
When did the Detroit Lions last win on Thanksgiving?
The Lions have 14 of their last 18 Thanksgiving Day games, and five straight. Their last Turkey Day win came in 2016, a 16-13 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
Matthew Stafford went 23-for-40 for 232 yards and a touchdown in that game for the Lions, along with 30 rushing yards. Running back Theo Riddick had a solid all-around game (nine carries for 45 yards, five catches for 13 yards). Riddick, along with wide receivers Anquan Boldin (seven receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown), Golden Tate (five catches for 77 yards) and Marvin Jones (four catches for 54 yards), combined to catch 21 of Stafford’s 23 pass completions.
Kicker Matt Prater went 3-for-3 on field goals and 1-for-1 on extra points for Detroit, with two makes from 40 or more yards out.
On the defensive side for the Lions that day against the Vikings, linebacker Tahir Whitehead had 12 total tackles (11 solo) and cornerback Darius Slay had an interception.
The Lions have played the Bills on Thanksgiving before, in 1976 and 1994, and they won both. The betting odds are against it happening a third time this year. But as well as the Lions are playing right now, never say never if the Bills take them lightly.