There are some aspects of the Detroit Lions’ 2019 schedule that are certainly unfavorable. Their Week 5 bye is the earliest in the league and leaves the Lions with 12 straight weeks of games with no rest. Traveling to Denver in mid-December could also be perilous for an indoor team like the Lions. Finally, the Lions going on the road to Washington before playing the Bears four days later on Thanksgiving is far from ideal.
That being said, there is one advantage to the Lions’ schedule that no other team in the NFL can boast. According to ESPN’s Brian Burke, the Lions will have 12 more days of rest than their opponents in 2019—the biggest positive disparity in the league. Perhaps more eye-opening is that the Lions will not a face a single team coming off their bye week this season. For comparison’s sake, the Lions faced two teams coming off their bye last year (Seahawks, Rams).
DET appears to have the most favorable schedule. Moderate travel distances. Most rest differential of any team. Just 1 short road week. Just 1 game with an opponent with more rest. No opponents coming off a bye. Just 1 back-2-back road stretch.— Brian Burke (@bburkeESPN) April 18, 2019
Does it really amount to all that much in the end? Probably not, although Burke claims “Rest Differential” is a “meaningful predictor.” Either way, the Lions will take every advantage they can get, and it also helps when one of their biggest rivals, the Green Bay Packers, are on the other end of the spectrum. Their Rest Differential is -10, the fourth-worst in the NFL.