The Detroit News managed to get an early look at the Lions' 2010 schedule, and they went ahead and shared it so we don't have to wait until the official announcement at 7 p.m. There are no times or TV details just yet (those will be out in the official announcement), but here is a look at who the Lions play and when:
September 12 - at Chicago Bears
September 19 - vs. Philadelphia Eagles
September 26 - at Minnesota Vikings
October 3 - at Green Bay Packers
October 10 - vs. St. Louis Rams
October 17 - at New York Giants
October 24 - BYE
October 31 - vs. Washington Redskins
November 7 - vs. New York Jets
November 14 - at Buffalo Bills
November 21 - at Dallas Cowboys
November 25 - vs. New England Patriots
December 5 - vs. Chicago Bears
December 12 - vs. Green Bay Packers
December 19 - at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
December 26 - at Miami Dolphins
January 2 - vs. Minnesota Vikings
The first thing I noticed about this schedule is that the Lions play all of their road divisional games in basically the first month of the season and then play all of their home divisional games in the last month or so of the season. The fact that the Lions have to go on the road to all of their NFC North rivals so early in the season is part of what makes the beginning so tough. On top of that, the Lions' only home game in the first four weeks is against Philadelphia, a team that could either come out firing or still readjusting to Kevin Kolb starting at quarterback.
Moving down the schedule, things really don't get easier for the Lions in October even after they wrap up their NFC North road games at Lambeau Field. At first glance I felt like this could be the easiest stretch of the schedule since it features home games against St. Louis and Washington, but then I realized that 1) the Rams beat Detroit at Ford Field in 2009, and 2) Washington is going to be a hell of a lot better than last season. Add in a road game against the Giants in the new Meadowlands Stadium and that is also a pretty tough stretch.
The month of November features the much anticipated showdown between Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez before the Lions head on the road to play Buffalo and Dallas. Detroit then returns home for a tough Thanksgiving game against the Patriots to wrap up this month.
The season starts to wind down in December with back-to-back divisional home games and then back-to-back trips to Florida. In that regard the schedule worked out very well, because cold weather really won't be an issue in any of the games except maybe the Buffalo one in mid-November. Other than that the Lions' post-bye schedule includes six home games, a game at Jerry World in Dallas, and two games in Florida. As a result, wintery weather shouldn't be a problem for the Lions unless something extremely bizarre happens down in Florida or winter decides to show up early in Buffalo.
In general the Lions' schedule is pretty tough, especially when you consider that four of their six games before the bye week are on the road. Add in the fact that Detroit's schedule features many strong teams anyways and it is more than obvious that outside of their bye week, the Lions won't have much time to blink in 2010. One way or another, though, we will be in for quite the ride based on this schedule.