The NFL season is a grind. Though there are only 16 regular season games, the competition is brutal, the recovery days are long and the physical and mental investment is demanding.
For some NFL teams, the travel alone can be a huge source of exhaustion and frustration. But for the Detroit Lions, that won’t be much of an issue. According to CBS Sports, the Lions will only travel 8,168 miles throughout the course of the season, the fourth-fewest of all NFL teams. Only the Steelers, Bengals and Packers will travel fewer miles.
This isn’t really all that surprising when you think about it; the Lions won’t travel any farther west than Minneapolis this year. The furthest they will travel all season is just over 1,000 miles to Tampa Bay for a December game against the Buccaneers.
According to the CBS piece, a team that doesn’t have to travel extreme long distances for road game see a big statistical benefit. They found that in 2014 and 2015, teams that had to travel at least 2,000 miles one-way on a flight to a game had a winning percentage of just .364 in that game. If the trip was less than 2,000 miles, teams had a .451 winning percentage.
But while the Lions benefit from a bunch of short, midwestern trips this year, they unfortunately don’t get a lot of time to get settled at home. The Lions do not have two consecutive home games during the entire 2017 schedule, meaning they’ll be hitting the road every other week.
Still, the Lions will settle for having a bunch of short trips, rather than dealing with a few coast-to-coast flights or, even worse, cross-continent flights.