The Giants and Lions are the two of the oldest franchises in the NFL and have met 45 times beginning in 1930. Detroit holds a slight lead with a 23-21-1 record. As the record suggests, each franchise has asserted dominance during some stretches but have usually alternated wins and losses.
Detroit has the longest winning streak in the series. They won five straight from 1964 to 1974. Considering the Lions have consistently been a poor franchise in terms of regular season performance and the Giants have been respectable from the 1980s onwards, the rivalry has shifted towards New York.
But since the Lions’ winning streak, the Giants have won 12 of the next 18 from 1976 to their most recent meeting in 2017. During this period, they have also won four Super Bowls and made five total appearances including 16 total postseason trips. The Lions have managed 11 playoff trips but have no Super Bowls.
Although New York has held a significant edge in overall success, you can expect a close game these two meet. Both teams are currently disorganized and have undergone restructuring. They are just about even.
New York Giants Recent History
When people think of the Giants, they took of the two Super Bowls they defeated the vaunted New England Patriots. But these two epic runs are sandwiched between a handful of one-and-done playoffs and playoffs-less seasons. Outside the Cinderella runs, New York hasn’t done a lot of winning.
The Giants are a constant enigma in the NFL. They can alternate between looking like a Super Bowl contender to an also-ran but more of the latter. Even if future Hall of Fame quarterback Eli Manning running the show, it’s tough to predict how Big Blue will perform.
Since their last two Super Bowl victories, the Giants have only made two postseasons. They set a franchise-worst 13 losses in 2017 and following an offseason that saw them draft the much-hyped Barkley and quarterback Kyle Lauletta, New York already has an eye towards the future.
Detroit Lions Recent History
With only one playoff victory since 1991, Detroit is the NFC’s worst franchise and only the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills can attest to a worse record in the 2000s. The Lions have their best team led by quarterback Matthew Stafford. Since his debut in 2009, the Lions have at least began winning consistently.
Stafford led the Lions back to the playoffs in 2011 and again in 2014 and 2016 although they couldn’t win a game. 2014 marked their best record (11-5) in 23 seasons and their consecutive winning seasons from 2016 to 2017 is the first time they’ve done so since the 1994 to 1995 seasons.
It might not seem like it, but the Lions are in the middle of their best run as a franchise. They play in the ultra-competitive NFC North, however, and will need to keep building to get a shot at the playoffs. But so long as Stafford is their quarterback, they have a shot.
New York Giants Outlook
The Giants aren’t ruling out the current season but are building more towards the future. Manning is 37 but hasn’t played like an elite quarterback since 2015. He is due for a bounce-back year or it could be the end of this current Giants team despite the additional pieces they took including Barkley.
New York was rumoured to make a splash during the NFL Draft by trading their second-overall pick but opted to take the all-world back instead. Barkley has that ability to change an offence and the Giants added Will Hernandez, a talented guard who will help open holes for Barkley.
If Manning can recapture his elite form, the Giants are a dark horse in the NFC. Their defence still needs a lot of work but a reinvigorated offence means they are still dangerous. And if they aren’t, they already have pieces for the future.
Detroit Lions Outlook
The Lions made some slight tweaks during the offseason drafting Frank Ragnow to bolster their offensive line’s run-blocking and adding veterans like Matt Cassell (QB) and LeGarrette Blount (RB) for more depth. But it won’t be enough to keep up with the likes of the Packers and Vikings.
It’s tough for Detroit who plays in a brutal division. Had they played in the AFC, they might just be a consistent playoff team but as it stands, they could be their division’s worst team. The Lions finished with consecutive seasons of nine wins. But they didn’t upgrade their defence enough to improve or even maintain the status quo.
If Detroit is hoping to contend, they’ll need a bit of luck like a regression from one of their division rivals. They’ll need to keep upgrading the defence and the offence around Stafford.
The Giants and Lions are similar in team makeup and outlook. Both teams can potentially make the playoffs but are facing steep odds. The Giants made more improvements to their offence and have a slightly better defence. But Manning has been nowhere near as good as Stafford, who is playing on fire.
But the Lions don’t have the same weapons as the Giants on offence. Blount might be their best running back and so long as they don’t have a reliable running game, Stafford’s workload will continue to be heavy. But thankfully, their offensive line remains solid though through more upgrades in the draft.
On defence, the Lions have some pieces like edge rusher Ziggy Ansah and cornerback Darius Slay. But they still lack a few upper-tier talents to take them up a new level. But it should be enough to deal with the Giants.
Detroit gets the edge but not by much. The Giants have the better pieces on offence but the Lions have the defence to keep it level. They win at home.