We knew after the Detroit Lions’ Week 16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings that the Lions would finish last in the NFC North for the first time since 2012. That’s significant because placing in the division affects the following year’s schedule.
For example, a team that finishes first in the division will face two teams from within the conference who also finished first in their respective division.
Now that Week 17 has come to an end for all NFC teams, the Lions’ 2019 opponents are all set. The NFC North is set to face the NFC East and the AFC West. Additionally, they will play the last place teams in the NFC South and NFC West. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished last in the South with a 5-11 record, and after their loss to the Seahawks in Week 17, the Cardinals are last in the West.
So here’s a look at the overall split in home and away games for the Detroit Lions’ 2019 schedule:
Obviously games against last place teams look winnable at the moment. However, facing the AFC West and the NFC East is unlucky for Detroit, as both divisions produced two playoff teams this year. Of course, everyone else in the NFC North will face those teams, as well.
Still, it looks like the Lions will go at least 15-1 next year, most likely 16-0. The full schedule (with dates) is typically released in mid-April.