The Detroit Lions' 2012 schedule included quite a few quality opponents. That is a big reason why the Lions ended up going 4-12. You can't be as inconsistent as they were and hope to succeed with the toughest schedule in the NFL. That's right. The Lions had the NFL's toughest schedule in 2012.
Even more interesting is that the Lions had the toughest schedule in the NFL even after adjusting for what happened in their games. ESPN put together an adjusted strength of schedule that is based on removing the results of a team's games in order to get a better idea of the quality of their opponents, and the Lions still finished with the toughest schedule. Here's the top five (adjusted win percentage is in parentheses):
- Detroit Lions (.554)
- Arizona Cardinals (.550)
- St. Louis Rams (.540)
- Minnesota Vikings (.529)
- New York Giants (.527)
This is what happens when you play in a division like the NFC North and get paired with a division like the NFC West for your schedule. And the Lions' ugly record is what happens when you aren't at the top of your game for the final couple months of the season with a schedule like this.