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Detroit Lions’ schedule toughest in NFL thus far, but among easiest for final 3 games

The Detroit Lions have had the toughest road in the NFL through 15 weeks, but it’s about to ease up considerably.

NFL: DEC 18 Lions at Jets Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.