With the Detroit Lions’ 2023 schedule now out, it’s time to make some way-too-early predictions for the season. Last year, we (Jeremy and Erik) paired out and while the game-by-game predictions weren’t so accurate, the final records were. Jeremy predicted an 8-9 season, and Erik correctly predicted a 9-8 year.
So what are we predicting for 2023?
Here are our game-by-game predictions for the upcoming season.
Week 1: Lions at Chiefs (Thursday)
Jeremy: Here we are, Erik. Exactly where you didn’t want to be.
Sorry, @erikschlitt. pic.twitter.com/vbGzB6idOR— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) May 11, 2023
Maybe you’ll muster up the courage and give an epic “don’t be afraid” speech before this one, but not sure the motivational tactics will work against a World Champion team that is 8-0 in season openers over the last eight years. Lions lose (0-1)
Erik: A (brief) history of slow starts under Dan Campbell and (longer) history of poor performances in season openers (Lions haven’t won a season opener since 2017) against the defending Super Bowl Champs who haven’t lost a home opener since 2014, has me on the ropes early. Deep down, I feel like a “don’t be afraid” speech will naturally build through the summer/fall, but I’m not there yet. Lions lose (0-1)
Week 2: Lions vs. Seahawks
Erik: A revenge game on multiple levels. Not only did last year’s loss to Seattle hurt the Lions' playoff chances, but the Seahawks also snuck into the Playoffs on the coattails of the Lions' pinnacle moment. Then, to top it all off, they snagged Devon Witherspoon with the fifth pick in the NFL Draft, one spot ahead of Detroit. Lions feast (1-1).
Jeremy: Seahawks are public enemy No. 2 for me right now (Packers will always be No. 1). Circle this game. Given how much they have annoyed me already, I only expect it to continue. Seahawks win in some ridiculously lucky fashion. Lions lose (0-2)
Week 3: Lions vs. Falcons
Jeremy: The Jeff Okudah/Mike Hughes revenge game! Or is it the Low Positional Value Bowl? (Bijan Robinson vs. Jahmyr Gibbs). Either way, this is a nice break in the schedule after a tough two-game start. Lions win (1-2)
Erik: No doubt the Falcons have some offensive weapons but their defense is terrible and I don't think they can hold up in a shootout with Detroit. There is absolutely no way John Cominsky lets the Lions lose this one. Lions win (2-1)
Week 4: Lions at Packers (Thursday)
Erik: FTP. The ora of Lambeau Field is gone, they’ve vanquished the ambassador of the dark retreat, and the Lions have won the last three matchups. Detroit begins its quest to dominate the NFC North. Lions win (3-1)
Jeremy: I am personally annoyed that, after this game, the last three trips to Lambeau will have all been primetime games... but I am no longer afraid. Lions win (2-2)
Week 5: Lions vs. Panthers
Jeremy: OH NO, THE LIONS FACE OFF AGAINST A ROOKIE QUARTERBACK. WHATEVER WILL THEY DO? John Cominsky batts down an NFL record eight Bryce Young passes and sends Carolina in a panic about quarterback height. Lions win (3-2)
Erik: The Lions move the ball much easier on Ford Field's new turf than they could against the concrete in Carolina, allowing the Lions to once again exact some revenge from 2022. This one will be closer than most think, but the Lions should have learned how to win by now. Lions win (4-1)
Week 6: Lions at Buccaneers
Erik: Lions take advantage of the warmer Florida weather in October and push the ball downfield against a middling team looking for an identity. Look for the Lions to punch Baker Mayfield in the mouth for costing them the No. 3 overall draft pick. Lions win (5-1)
Jeremy: I’m more upset about Mayfield costing the Lions a playoff spot. Tampa may be one of the worst teams in football (t-27th in Super Bowl odds), so this one doesn’t scare me in the slightest. Lions win (4-2)
Week 7: Lions at Ravens
Jeremy: Jameson Williams returns, the Ravens are coming off a Week 6 trip to London, and Justin Tucker doesn’t have the benefit of Ford Field to haunt my dreams any longer. Lions win. (5-2)
Erik: While the return of JAMO is certainly inspirational, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is on a mission to prove Baltimore was right to re-sign him. Lions lose a tight one (5-2)
Week 8: Lions vs. Raiders (Monday)
Erik: Strap in because Ford Field is going to be nuts. The Lions should be able to pull the win off on their own, but the raucous Detroit crowd forces 10+ false starts, and the Lions waltz into the bye week with an impressive record. Lions win (6-2)
Jeremy: The Ghost of Jon Gruden haunts this game as an ex-Raider and ex-Monday Night Football broadcaster. Nevertheless, Jimmy Garoppolo divorced from Kyle Shanahan doesn’t scare me one bit. Lions win (6-2)
Week 9: BYE
Jeremy: A reasonable bye week that prevents a short week off a “Monday Night Football” game? Sheila and Rod out here just commanding respect.
Erik: This feels nice.
Week 10: Lions at Chargers
Erik: Coming out of the bye week, the Lions should have the advantage, but traveling across the country hasn’t always been kind, and the Chargers are just dangerous enough to make the Lions work. Lions lose a tight one (6-3)
Jeremy: Justin Herbert is the forgotten quarterback in a stacked AFC. Pair him with Lions legend Kellen Moore instead of Lions loser Joe Lombardi and look out. Lions lose (6-3)
Week 11: Lions vs. Bears
Jeremy: I do think the Bears are going to be a tougher out than in years past, and it’s not like the Lions dominated them last year. However, at home, heading into Thanksgiving in the driver’s seat of the division, the Lions avoid a let-down game here. Lions win (7-3)
Erik: The Lions solve the Justin Fields problem by containing him with a heavy dose of James Houston and five-man fronts. They won’t even need to fully stop him, just slow him down enough that the Bears can’t keep pace with the Lions' offense. Lions win (7-3)
Week 12: Lions vs. Packers (Thanksgiving)
Erik: Thanksgiving has been a problem for the Lions recently, losing their last six games on the holiday. That streak ends this year. Time to take control of this historical game again and sweep the Packers in the process. Lions win (8-3)
Jeremy: The Lions riding a 7-3 record going into Thanksgiving with an opportunity to sweep the Packers? Yeah, sounds about time for a frustrating loss to stew over with your family... if this was the old Lions. Lions sweep the Packers in consecutive years for just the second time since the 1950s. Lions win (8-3)
Week 13: Lions at Saints
Jeremy: Dan Campbell, Aaron Glenn, and Alex Anzalone’s first trip back to New Orleans since joining the Lions, and it’ll be an emotional one. That said, I’m not buying into the Saints hype at all. It’ll be a close one, but the Lions walk away in a shootout. Lions win (9-3)
Erik: Jamaal Williams fights hard to show the Lions decision-makers that they should have met his agent's demands, but ultimately, Saints’ quarterback Derek Carr throws three interceptions (two to Kerby Joseph), and the Lions win on a David Montgomery touchdown. Lions win (9-3)
Week 14: Lions at Bears
Erik: With the game plan to shut down Fields still intact, the Lions keep their hot streak going and reach double-digit wins for the first time since 2014. Lions win (10-3)
Jeremy: Bad things happen at Soldier Field. By now, I expect the Bears to look like a somewhat competent football team. They steal one from Detroit here to keep their flailing playoff hopes alive. Lions lose (9-4)
Week 15: Lions vs. Broncos
Jeremy: The Broncos had one of the worst offenses in the league last year, so this offseason they went and hired... JOE LOMBARDI??? Oh boy. Russell Wilson is better than he looked last year, but things ain’t turning around anytime soon in Denver no matter how much Sean Payton does. Lions win (10-4)
Erik: The Broncos player’s disdain for Wilson boils over by this point in the season, and even Sean Payton can’t save the team chemistry. Lions score three touchdowns, which is enough to win by double digits. Lions win (11-3)
Week 16: Lions at Vikings
Erik: Confidence is at an all-time high for the Lions and this feels like a letdown game in waiting. Lions get a wake-up call as the Vikings are fighting to stay relevant in the playoff race. Lions lose (11-4)
Jeremy: The Vikings are in for some MASSIVE regression after going undefeated in one-score games last year and losing several pieces on both sides of the ball (with more losses coming?). Minnesota will be the worst team in the NFC North this year and a bottom-tier team in the conference. Lions win (11-4)
Week 17: Lions at Cowboys (Saturday night)
Jeremy: A game that will very likely have playoff-seeding implications, this will be a great taste of playoff-like football before the actual postseason. Lions get their loss out of the way before single-elimination time. Lions lose (11-5).
Erik: Nightmare fuel in waiting, the Lions come in ready to hand out some more revenge but struggle to close and a controversial play on National television goes against them—shocking, I know. Lions lose (11-5)
Week 18: Lions vs. Vikings
Erik: After back-to-back losses, the Lions need to finish the regular season strong as they prepare to lock up the North and secure a home playoff game. Justin Jefferson does his best to keep the Vikings relevant in this game, but some (Lions offensive coordinator) Ben Johnson voodoo magic keeps the Lions in front and secures the victory. Lions win (12-5) and win the NFC North.
Jeremy: Did I mention that the Vikings finished 27th in DVOA last season? They’ll be praying for a loss here to get their quarterback of the future in next year’s draft. Lions win (12-5) and win the NFC North.