This is easily one of my favorite times of the year. I know everyone loves the draft and free agency, and I do too, but there is nothing like the schedule release. It comes our first tiny little glimpse of how the season will roll out and what the Lions will have to go up against. From a fan point of view, this is the time of year that you can get together with your friends and family and pick the game or games you’re going to and make your plans.
I know you’ve been waiting. I know I’ve been waiting. Well, wait no more. Here is the Lions’ 2019 schedule.
The first thing that I noticed was that the Lions only have two nationally televised games this year. A “Monday Night Football” showdown with the Packers in Week 6 and, of course, Thanksgiving Day against the Bears. You also can’t help but notice the Lions’ bye week is super early this year in Week 5.
Let’s go game by game and talk about what to expect.
Week 1: at Cardinals
The Lions will start the season with their annual required matchup with the Cardinals. Frankly, the Lions couldn't have hoped for a better way to start the season. They’ll go up against the worst team in the league last year with the presumed addition of a rookie quarterback. Yeah, I know that they started last season against a rookie quarterback, but the Jets are arguably a better team than the Cardinals and the Lions won’t be the same team with a completely predictable offense like they were last year.
Week 2: vs Chargers
The Lions’ first home game will see them welcome the Philip Rivers and company into town. This is going to be a real test for the Lions if you base everything in the future off what happened in the past. The Chargers went 12-4 in 2018 and didn’t lose much at all this offseason. They didn’t gain much either. The Chargers are always a wishy-washy team. It’ll be interesting to see which team shows up in 2019. Either way, this is going to be a real test.
Week 3: at Eagles
Here’s another game that’s got Lions fans worrying early. The Eagles won the Super Bowl two years ago and won a playoff game against the vaunted Bears last year. But here’s the thing in Philly, they lost Golden Tate, Nick Foles, Jordan Hicks, Haloti Ngata and Jordan Matthews to free agency. The only real big add for the Eagles was Ronald Darby? That’s not saying a whole lot. Plus who can say that Carson Wentz will be ready by this time too?
I’m sure he will.
Week 4: vs Chiefs
The Lions better bring the defense in Week 4, because they’re going to have to find a way to stop reigning league MVP Patrick Mahomes. The Lions may have a chance here, though. At the moment, we don’t know if Tyreek Hill is going to be playing, and as good as the Chiefs were in 2018, their defense was very bad. They were ranked 31st against the pass and 27th against the run.
They made some moves to help correct their work against the pass in adding Tyrann Mathieu and Bashaud Breeland, but didn’t do much to stop the run and let Justin Houston walk to presumably free up cap space. It should be interesting to see how this game goes. It won’t be easy for the Lions at all. For entertainment sake, let’s all hope it’s a shootout.
Week 5: Bye
Super early bye week. I’m not feeling it. But...
Week 6: at Packers on Monday night
The bye week is good for the Lions in this one little case. They’ll get a seven day break before the head to Lambeau to play their division rival Green Bay Packers. This rivalry has been a lot different lately. The once dominant Packers are 0-4 against the Lions in the last four games and are coming off their second straight season in which they missed the playoffs. With a new coaching staff in town and the sudden willingness to sign a free agent, it should be interesting to see how this Packers team plays in 2019. But it’s hard to argue that Lambeau Field is still the scary place it used to be for the Lions.
Week 7: vs Vikings
Back-to-back NFC North matchups for the Lions, but they’ll get this one at home against a Vikings team that has frankly had a really bad offseason. They managed to get Anthony Barr to come back after pledging to sign with the Jets, but they lost Andrew Sendejo, Sheldon Richardson, Latavius Murray, George Iloka, Tom Compton and Marcus Sherels. Still, the Lions haven’t beaten the Vikings since 2017. Nothing is guaranteed. This Vikings team might have a stellar draft and return to the top of the division.
Week 8: vs Giants
Two things will happen in Week 8: The Lions will get to face a Giants team that has fallen apart to a point that’s kinda hilarious, and they’ll have to find a way to stop Golden Tate in his first game in Ford Field since being traded to the Eagles in 2018. It could be an emotional atmosphere in the building that day.
Week 9: At Raiders
Who’s ready to play the Raiders in... Where is this game going to be anyways? The Turkey Hole? Darius Slay vs. Antonio Brown is going to be a lot of fun. I’m sure AB will be looking to avoid Quandre Diggs though.
Week 10: vs Bears
This is the game I look forward to the most. I don’t know why. The Bears won the NFC North crown last year before getting eliminated immediately form the playoffs. Their fans are riding high. Just ask them. Mitchell Trubisky is the greatest quarterback in the world and Buster Skrine is the biggest signing of the offseason for any team. Please beat this team.
Week 11: vs Cowboys
The Lions have not had a great run with the Cowboys in the last three games. Then again, all those games were in Dallas. The Cowboys will be back in the house for the first time since this:
Maybe the Lions are due for another miracle in 2019.
Week 12: At Redskins
The Lions head to Washington in Week 12 to take on their old friend Case Keenum. Only this time the Lions have to win right? Right?! The cool thing about this Redskins game is that this will be the Lions last outdoor game until they play the Broncos in Week 16.
Week 13: vs Bears on Thanksgiving
I’m so totally psyched about this. I mean the Bears on Thanksgiving. This is going to be...
This is dumb. I’m sorry. I love Thanksgiving Day, and I love the Lions playing that day too. But it feels like the league was just like, “Yeah I don’t know. Have them play the Bears again.” It’d be nice to play someone new. That’s all I’m saying.
Week 14: at Vikings
The Lions head to Minnesota in December. Thank the football gods that it’s an indoor game. In our schedule release Twitch session I predicted that the Lions and Vikings would split games in 2019. Well here’s the probable loss. The Vikings will have a rough start to the season, but it may be safe to assume that they get a lot more comfortable down the road.
Week 15: vs Bucs
The Lions will come back home in Week 15 to face off against Jameis Winston and the Bucs. This game and the next game on the docket is going to be important for the Lions if they happen to be in the running for a playoff spot. They absolutely will need to eat a W here.
Week 16: at Broncos
Denver in December. Man, it’s going to be cold. As if it wasn’t already hard enough with the altitude, add in the potential of heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures to boot. It makes a game that the Lions should probably win into a game the Lions will probably lose real quick.
Week 17: vs Packers
Is anyone else as sick of this Week 17 matchup as we are? This will be the fourth year in a row and the fifth time since 2014 that the Lions have played the Packers in the final game of the season. It’s the game all Lions fans fear the most when the Lions are potentially in the running for the playoffs. We look at this game and say, “Yup. There’s the one where it all goes wrong.” Much like the Bears on Thanksgiving, it feels like the league isn’t even trying when it comes to the Lions.