If you can’t tell already, we here at Pride Of Detroit aren’t too keen on the whole predicting wins-and-losses thing right after the 2017 schedule was released. It’s a silly exercise, considering the NFL Draft hasn’t even happened yet.
We are not above, however, ranking how compelling each game appears. There are some games that are almost assuredly going to be exciting, and some that are bound to be duds. So without further ado, here are the watchability ranks of every game from the Lions 2017 season. Because I have an affinity for the dramatic, we’ll start with the least compelling.
16. Week 10 vs. Browns
The Browns are going to be better this year, there’s little doubt about that. If you’re a fan of watching rookies, this game may be your thing. Cleveland has six of the first 108 picks in this year’s draft and will likely be starting a handful of those. Brock Osweiler may have defeated the Lions last year, but Cleveland’s defense isn’t anywhere near Houston’s.
15. Week 16 at Bengals
It feels weird to put such a late game so low on the list, and I believe the Bengals will be more competitive this year. But this Christmas Eve matchup is a bore on paper. When the NFC standings will be heating up, this non-conference game leaves much drama to be desired.
14. Week 11 at Bears
Whenever the Lions travel to Soldier Field, it almost always results in the sloppiest, most frustrating game of the season. Although Detroit has won seven of their last eight against the Bears, they are only 3-6 at Soldier Field over the past nine years. Given it’ll already be mid-November, expect field conditions to be even worse than normal.
13. Week 6 at Saints
The Lions have already played in the Superdome four times since 2011 (including playoffs). They’re essentially a divisional opponent now, except without the excitement or stakes.
12. Week 13 at Ravens
Although this could be a big game for both teams, it is, again, a non-conference game late in the season. Also, a game in Baltimore in December means we could be in for a snowy mess of a game. Remember the Eagles game from 2013? Yeah, no one wants that again.
11. Week 4 vs. Panthers
Carolina was one of the most confounding teams in the league in 2016. After their amazing Super Bowl run in 2016, they immediately fell to 6-10. I have no idea what to think of the team this year, but a Week 4 game against a non-divisional opponent doesn’t seem like much of a page-turner.
10. Week 15 vs. Bears
Sure, this is a divisional game late in the season. Sure, it’s a “special” Saturday late-afternoon game. But it’s the first of two games being televised on NFL Network that day, which likely means the D-team of announcers. Plus, the Bears will be out of it by then.
9. Week 10 at Buccaneers
The Lions haven’t played in Tampa since 2011, and the Bucs are a trendy pick to make a huge step forward in 2017. However, there just isn’t anything too exciting about this matchup. Neither team is very flashy in the way they operate. However, Darius Slay vs. Mike Evans could be an intriguing matchup.
8. Week 1 vs. Cardinals
Opening week is always exciting, especially when at home. The Lions will get an opportunity to get revenge from their ugliest game in 2015. That day, the Lions fell 42-17, leading to a Matthew Stafford benching that would actually have some fickle fans questioning whether Dan Orlovsky should be starting. Ah, memories.
7. Week 4 at Vikings
The Lions’ opening divisional game comes early in the schedule on the road. The Lions are undefeated at U.S. Bank Stadium and will always be the first away team to win in the building. Now they’ll try to be the first away team to win twice there.
6. Week 2 at Giants (“Monday Night Football”)
I am personally not a fan of the “Monday Night Football” announcing crew. I have no real problem with Sean McDonough, but Jon Gruden is insufferable. Also, if you remember last year’s game between the Giants and Lions, it was one of the most boring games of the year. Still, the stage of a Monday night game is undeniably electric. Let’s hope for a repeat of the 2014 Monday night matchup of the two teams.
5. Week 12 vs. Vikings (Thanksgiving)
Detroit hasn’t played the same opponent on back-to-back Thanksgivings since 1980. When we asked which team you’d like to see the Lions play on Thanksgiving, only four percent of fans responded with Minnesota. Still, a divisional game will bring a lot of excitement with it, and last year’s finish was one of the best of the year.
4. Week 9 at Packers (“Monday Night Football”)
It’s hard to beat a prime time game against what has to be the Lions’ biggest rival at this point. Winning at Lambeau is tough, and winning there in prime time is even tougher. In fact, the Lions have never beaten the Packers on the road in prime time (dating back to the beginning of “Monday Night Football” in 1970).
But games between the two teams have been epic as of late. Although the Packers consider the Vikings their biggest rivalry, there is something brewing here.
3. Week 3 vs. Falcons
A home matchup against the defending NFC champs is one of the most exciting games on the schedule. Not only that, but this contest has all the makings of a classic shootout between two great quarterbacks. This is also a fairly rare matchup, as the Lions and Falcons last faced off in 2014 in London. Here’s a fun fact: The Lions have an all-time record of 24-12 against the Falcons, their second-biggest winning percentage against all NFL teams (Browns are the biggest).
2. Week 17 vs. Packers
This game could mean everything and get flexed to “Sunday Night Football” or it could mean absolutely nothing. Chances are pretty good, however, that it will mean something to at least one of the teams. If the Lions aren’t playing for a division title, maybe they’ll have a shot at playing spoiler and getting revenge from last year.
1. Week 8 vs. Steelers (“Sunday Night Football”)
This may be a non-conference game, but it has all of the other makings of a stellar matchup. It is the Lions’ sole home primetime matchup, meaning Ford Field will be raucous. It will have the best broadcast duo the league has to offer, and the Lions will get a chance to see how they match up against one of the best franchises in football history. By the end of the game, we may be talking about the changing of the guard among elite quarterbacks. Out goes Ben Roethlisberger, in goes Matthew Stafford.