Matchups with the Packers get the spotlight
Both of Detroit’s matchups with the Green Bay Packers earned prime spots on their schedules, as the NFL shows that they still see some potential in the rivalry even after both teams had dismal 2018 seasons.
Their Week 5 matchup at Lambeau Field will be on “Monday Night Football” and close out a week of NFL action. They will meet once again at Ford Field in the all-important Week 17. If both teams live up to expectations this season, then that game has potential to decide the fate of the NFC North or even serve as some sort of playoff preview.
Both contests may end up as games that the entire league has an eye on, and these two matchups can help breathe life into a rivalry that had a quiet 2018.
The NFL can not get enough of the Bears on Thanksgiving
For the second consecutive season, the opponent in the Lions annual Thanksgiving matchup will be the Chicago Bears. It makes sense, though. Chicago is one of the bigger markets in the league, and a defense that features Khalil Mack and the Bears devastating pass rush is sure to bring in some eyes.
It does feel a little underwhelming, though. Thanksgiving and Week 17 are two of the most exciting games of the season for Lions fans, but now it seems that both weeks have been locked up with annual matchups rather than a new exciting foe every year.
More repeats? Cardinals to start the season again
Way back in Week 1 of the 2017 season, then rookie receiver Kenny Golladay announced himself to the league with a two-touchdown performance against the Arizona Cardinals in a Lions victory. Golladay and the Lions will have a chance to impress once again to start the year, as they have been slotted to face Arizona in Week 1.
The Lions and Cardinals have had a quiet rivalry over the years. In 2014, they were the top two teams in the NFC when they met in Week 11. In 2015, Matthew Stafford was benched in arguably the worst game of his career as the then winless Lions were bludgeoned at the hands of their opponents. In 2017 and 2018, Detroit came out victorious as both Darius Slay and Zach Zenner shined in the 2018 version of the match up.
Arizona also has the first overall pick in the 2019 draft. Rumors say they have interest in Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray and are expected to take the Heisman trophy winner at No. 1. The quarterback’s first NFL action may come against what is shaping up to be a great Lions defense.
Rough start to the season
After the Cardinals in Week 1, the Lions schedule significantly ramps up in difficulty. While we do not yet know how good each team will be in 2019, we can make a few educated guesses, and those guesses tell us Detroit may have another rough start to the year.
Starting in Week 2, Detroit will be matched up against three straight 2018 playoff teams in the Los Angeles Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. Then after a bye week, they head to Lambeau Field to face the Packers, before heading back to Ford Field to take on a tough Minnesota Vikings team that was a half-game out of the playoffs last year.
The second half of the schedule sees things tone down a bit, but do not be totally surprised if we are already looking towards the 2020 draft in early November.