The NFL is going to announce its 2015 schedule at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday night. We already know which teams the Detroit Lions are going to play this year, but here are five things worth keeping an eye on as the official schedule is announced:
1. Thanksgiving opponent
Last year, we thought the Lions would play an AFC team on Thanksgiving since the game was on CBS. However, the NFL went off script and had them host the Chicago Bears. This year, you would think that the Lions would host an NFC team with the game on FOX, but chances are the NFL will just go with the most attractive matchup. Considering the Lions are scheduled to host the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles, those seem like two very possible opponents for Thanksgiving. And we can't rule out an NFC North opponent like the Green Bay Packers, of course.
2. When the Lions have to go to Lambeau
Notice a pattern here?
Since 2004, the Lions have only had three games at Lambeau Field before December, and all of them occurred in October. That means that eight games at Lambeau have taken place in December or January for the Lions.
On the flip side, the Lions have only hosted the Packers for a single post-November game in that same span of time. The NFL has put the Packers at Detroit later in the season a bit more lately, but even then, only one game has actually taken place in December.
It sure would be nice to see the NFL reverse this trend this year by having the Packers come to Ford Field late in the season. As the Lions found out last year, a lot could be on the line in a Week 17 game against the Packers, and winning at Lambeau has proven impossible for them for more than two decades now. Having a potential NFC North championship game at home would be a huge advantage for Detroit.
More on the Lions' 2015 schedule
More on the Lions' 2015 schedule
3. Prime-time games
The Lions could be featured on national television quite a bit this season. On top of Thanksgiving, the Lions are going to play the Kansas City Chiefs in London at 9:30 a.m. ET on Nov. 1, so that should be two nationally televised games right there.
When it comes to actual prime-time games, I would expect the Lions to be on NBC and/or ESPN at least a couple of times this year. After all, they're coming off a playoff appearance, and with teams like the Packers, Broncos, Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints on the schedule, they will be involved in quite a few intriguing matchups in 2015.
4. Week 1 opponent/location
It's always important to start the season on a positive note, so for that reason alone, it will be interesting to see what the Lions' Week 1 matchup ends up being. For starters, will the Lions be home or away? And beyond that, who will the Lions have to play to open the season? The answers to those questions could greatly impact the Lions' chances of opening the 2015 season with a win.
5. The homestretch
The second half of the Lions' schedule last year was quite difficult. In addition to back-to-back road games against the Cardinals and New England Patriots, the Lions had to go on the road to Chicago and Green Bay to close out the season. They did have a pretty nice three-game homestand that saw the Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings come to Detroit, but finishing with a pair of divisional road games was tough. It will be interesting to see what this year's homestretch looks like for the Lions.