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Quick thoughts on the Detroit Lions 2016 schedule

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The first analysis comes from the gut, and the gut is telling me wonderful things.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Wasn't that fun? Wasn't that exciting? You got to know the schedule of the sixteen games that you had already known the teams of for months now, but the league had waited until this night -- this very night! -- to reveal to you the order that these games will be played in. Truly the NFL is an unassailable bastion of sport, and Michael David Smith is 100% right; when basketball is out there saying goodbye to a generational talent and another team is chasing history on the same night, football is still king the very next day. Sure that king might have gout, but every feudal ruler needs a little endearing quirk.

Anyway, commence the memes.


But enough of that. Here's what we think we know right now:

The Lions will yet again start the season on the road...but not the same road

Much like 2015, the Lions will play three of their first four games on the road: playing in Indianapolis, Green Bay and Chicago. It is another rough road schedule to start the year, especially once one factors in that the Lions will be playing and healthy and fresh Andrew Luck to open the season. With the improvements that Chicago has made, it's not impossible that the Lions could start the season winless away from Detroit.

That said, the chances to defeat Chicago are still decent, and the home game in Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans should be some good comfort food short of a Lions' meltdown. The other factor playing in Detroit's favor is there's no west coast swing this year; the farthest the Lions will travel is to Houston. And speaking of that Packers game...

No frigid wasteland Lambeau trip

I despise the state of Wisconsin like no other. Watching the Packers play in the Ninth Circle of Hell Lambeau after October only reinforces my desire to never visit this state in any capacity. Thankfully, the Lions will be able to make this trip in reasonably decent weather, unless it happens to be one of those years where September just sucks a lot.

But I'm not sure how much that actually helps the Lions. Warmer weather can only mean that Aaron Rodgers is capable of throwing the football a little better than his already ridiculously well-actuated arm is capable of throwing. The Lions may have just busted a 25-year drought, but pressure will be on to repeat the miracle.

Keep the channel number for Fox handy

The Lions will have a meager two national television games: Monday Night Football in Dallas (a pregame show that you should definitely skip because there will be footage of the picked up flag) and the Thanksgiving Day game against the Minnesota Vikings. This is to be expected; although the Lions certainly got a good share of national games last season (two on Monday Night and two on Thursday), a 7-9 showing with a wretched winless stretch is almost certainly going to take the Lions once again out of national conversation of any capacity. Losing Calvin Johnson probably doesn't help marketability either.

Slippery when it's almost over

If the start of the season was the downfall for the Lions last year, it could be the second half that throttles them in 2016.

The Lions play the Vikings before the bye and then again in Week 12. Early projections for the Vikings indicate they will be as competitive as any team and almost assuredly a contender to make the playoffs again. With the way their defense continues to improve, it will not be a fun series for the Lions.

After the second Vikings game there's no comfort. The Lions will go on the road to the Superdome in New Orleans and then play the Bears in Detroit before heading on the road to play the Giants and Cowboys, and then ending the season on a one-day shortened week against the Packers.

Again, put aside the struggles of the Saints and Giants and Cowboys last year. The Saints will not be an easy out at home in any capacity, while the Giants and Cowboys will be pressed hard to rebound from putrid seasons and make playoff pushes if still in contention.

The good news is that the Lions schedule will not interfere with your plans for Christmas Day (the Lions play on Monday night that week, the 26th) or any viewing playing for the major college football bowl games (The three bowl games that are usually on Jan. 1 -- the Rose, Sugar and Cotton -- will be playing on Jan. 2 instead).

Early prediction: Shut up

No really don't ask me for my win-loss prediction before we've even had the godforsaken draft.