There are a lot of things that are mind-blowing about the Detroit Lions’ turnaround. The fact that they’ve completely turned around their defense is astonishing. Through the first month of the season, they were headed towards breaking NFL records in terms of points and yardage given up. But in their 6-1 stretch, they’ve allowed just 19.9 points per game—which is the lowest among teams who played seven games over that stretch.
Another amazing aspect of Detroit’s improbable run is just how big the degree of difficulty has been. As pointed out by the NFL on CBS Twitter account, the Lions have played the toughest schedule in the NFL through 15 weeks. Their 14 opponents have a combined winning percentage of .590. For what it’s worth, by DVOA, the Lions’ schedule has been the fifth-most difficult thus far.
During Detroit’s hot streak, they’ve faced some of those tougher teams in the NFL. They did drop a game to the 11-3 Bills, but they also took down the 11-3 Vikings, 7-7 Jets, the 6-8 Jaguars, and the 8-5-1 Giants.
Moreso, though, this fact really points out how difficult of a schedule the Lions had at the beginning of the season, when they were still figuring out their own team identity. In that 1-6 stretch, the Lions lost games to the top three teams in the NFC (Eagles, Vikings, Cowboys) and three teams still very much in the playoff race (Seahawks, Patriots, Dolphins).
In reality, the Lions do not have a “bad” loss on their schedule yet. Every team they have lost to has a record of .500 or better.
Hopefully, that bodes well for Detroit, because their remaining schedule features three teams who currently have losing records: the Panthers (5-9), the Bears (3-11), and the Packers (6-8). That’s a combined record of 14-28 or a .333 winning percentage. Per Tankathon, that’s tied for the second-easiest schedule remaining.