This is easily one of my most favorite days of the year: The day the NFL schedule is released. It’s that day that football fans all over can stare at the schedule and attempt to plan their next trip to the stadium. The plan that will ultimately be altered when the team sells out their tickets in five minutes in August.
For Lions fans, it’s no different. Offseason excitement has reached a new height. Just look at Twitter today. It was ablaze with schedule talk. Well, now the time for talking is over. It’s time to do other types of talking.
The schedule is out. As always, I have thoughts. These are those thoughts.
Dang!!! That’s the first thing I said when I saw the Lions schedule and saw all the prime time games the Lions will be playing in. There’s two Monday night games, a Sunday night game and then Thanksgiving. The Lions are in prime time so many times in 2017, ABC is considering a Donny Osmond and Jim Caldwell variety hour. Donny’s a little bit country, Jim’s a little bit AM radio while staring off into the abyss.
I would be remiss if I did not quickly brag here. A couple weeks ago, I wrote a piece about the Lions return to marketability. In that piece, I wrote about how I felt that the NFL will find the Lions marketable when it comes to the scheduling process. Many doubted this, but none more than our fearless leader, Mr. Jeremy ‘Vivica” Reisman. I shall take this time to say, “I told you so, sir.” Now enjoy some mozzarella sticks on me. [Editor’s note: I’ll pass.]
I like the slate here, by the way. Playing the Packers on a Monday night has seemed like a no-brainer to me for a while now. The NFL finally got the point. This game sells. You gotta love that it’s in early November as well, instead of playing in the snow in December.
The game against the Steelers is going to be a blast. Antonio Brown vs. Darius Slay. Yes, please. Lions-Giants in Week 2 should be interesting. As should the Lions and Vikings Thanksgiving Day rematch. All of these games look like fun.
Where is the Thursday night game?
Are the Lions seriously going to waste another Color Rush jersey? We had heard last year that the Lions were pre-destined to play on Thursday night in 2017. Now the schedule comes out and there is no game. It’s a good thing because Thursday night games are never fun. It’s a bad thing for the amazing Color Rush jerseys we may never see them play in. Here’s hoping they use them on Thanksgiving or on their Saturday game against the Bears.
Gotta love that opening series of games
That was my first reaction when I saw that opening slate of games. Over the last two years, the Lions have been just beaten up in the first few weeks of the season. A lot of that had to do with starting out on the road against heavily favored opponents. The Lions have had three road games out of their first four in the last two years. Maybe that’s why they’re 1-7 in those games.
This year the Lions at least split a little. They’ll open up with their inaugural game against the Cardinals. Then head to New York for a night game. Back to Detroit to take on the NFC Champion Falcons. Then finally off to Minnesota to face a division rival.
I guess it does look a little scary in terms of opponents, but at least there are home games. So... cool.
The Last Five
That’s how I felt when I saw the last five games on the schedule. It just doesn’t have the same groove to it. The Lions are going to have a heck of a time down the final stretch. They have three games on the road and two division rivals.
The good thing here is that they won’t hit crazy weather in Baltimore or Tampa Bay, but they likely will in Cincinnati in Week 16. If this season is anything like last season, that’s going to be a tough game.
The other good thing is that four of these opponents didn’t make the playoffs in 2016. The bad thing is that doesn’t matter in 2017. Each team could be improved.
The worst thing is potentially having to face Joe Buck and the Green Bay Packers in Week 17. Yes, it’s at home. but that hasn’t stopped the Lions from screwing that up or the Packers from suddenly looking like Super Bowl contenders.
You just know that if the Lions are in the running for the division, it’s going to come down to that game. They’ll move it Sunday night and we’ll all drink ourselves to sleep while we listen to Limp Bizkit.
The meaty middle
Lastly there’s the other little games here and there. The Lions will take on the Browns in Week 10. That should be alright. Then there are games against Carolina and New Orleans that I just don’t know what to think about.
It’s crazy that the Lions play the Saints yet again. The NFL may as well go back to having bigger divisions and put the Saints and Lions together. They’re clearly in love with this match up. This will be their fifth match up since 2011.
Don’t forget about the bye
Here’s the thing about the bye. I hate it. It’s a week in the winter where there’s no football, and a trip to Target with the wife is always involved. Instead of watching football, I get to watch my wife be super happy as she scours each aisle looking for knick knacks and new clothes. I on the other hand, try on hats.
After all that, my wife won't even buy me this hat. pic.twitter.com/qkoRg9iJrL— Mike Payton (@POD_Payton) November 1, 2016
As for the position of the bye week. It’s not bad. After a seven-game stretch, the Lions head on vacation. Then come back to play two prime time games in a row. Then they take on the Browns and the Bears before Thanksgiving. My only concern here is that the Lions are going to be working on some short weeks here. Hopefully this does not affect their play.
What are your thoughts Lions fans? Do you like the schedule? On a scale of Rocky Maivia to The Rock, would you say it’s more of a Maivia? Or a Rock? Tell me your thoughts in the comment section.
PS: We’re less than a week from the draft y’all. So do your excited dance.
How do you like the Lions 2017 schedule?
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Don’t like it