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Friday open thread: What is the most important stretch of the Lions’ schedule?

It should not take too long to know how well this season will go for Detroit.

Detroit Lions v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The 2021 schedule was released on Wednesday, and things are relatively balanced for the Detroit Lions. Yes, there are three early divisional road games, including a Monday night contest at Lambeau, but the rest of the schedule is fairly acceptable, especially with a favorable Week 9 bye.

It may be far too early to definitively know anything about these opponents — or even the Lions themselves — but that will not stop us from taking a glance at the layout and jumping to some early conclusions. While there will certainly be some surprises, we should know enough to circle a few dates on the calendar.

Today’s Question of the Day is:

What is the most important stretch of the Lions’ schedule?

My answer: The first three weeks are absolutely brutal, with visits from the Super Bowl contending 49ers and Ravens sandwiching a primetime trip to Green Bay. It would be great for Detroit to take one of those games, but an 0-3 start is well within the cards. That makes the next three games vitally important.

Traveling to Chicago and Minnesota will not be easy, but these could be close to must-wins depending on how the prior three games turn out. Anything can happen in an NFC North battle, and the Lions will have to show up for these two. A home game against the Bengals in Week 6 should be winnable as well, even with a healthy Joe Burrow. If Detroit goes 1-2 or worse from Weeks 4-6, the season might be over before Halloween.

Your turn.