How many years have you sat and waited for the NFL to drop the Detroit Lions schedule only to find out that the team has to go through a gauntlet of pain in which they get sprayed in the face with Frank’s Red Hot while their shoelaces are tied and the girl that they liked the most in high school is standing there watching them while they fall into a puddle of mud on a weekly basis before any relief happens.
In 2023, it’s different. Maybe it’s because the Lions have a really good team and are expected to do big things this year. Maybe it’s because the NFL, who have hated the Lions forever (according to many Lions fans that specialize in conspiracies), suddenly really like the team. Whatever it may be, this couldn’t gone any better.
Yes, the Lions will have to start off the season with two tough outs. The defending champion Chiefs and the Seahawks, the latter of which hung 48 points on the Lions just last season. Still, it’s hard not to see this as the Lions getting an amazing chance to shatter a glass ceiling right away. Knock off at least one of these teams and the perceptions just keeps changing, especially if they manage to beat the Chiefs in front of a national audience.
After that, things get a lot smoother. The Lions get a four-game run of teams that are going to have brand new, or newer, quarterbacks. That’s (presumably) Desmond Ridder and the Falcons, Jordan Love and the Packers, Bryce Young and the Panthers and Baker Mayfield and the Buccaneers.
The Ravens could be a scary team, but they’ll have to play the Lions right after getting home from London. That’s often a tall task for teams who have to get used to time changes and then adjust back to their normal schedule. What makes this game even better is that this is when the Lions get Jameson Williams back.
After bringing in the Raiders for “Monday Night Football,” the Lions get the perfect midseason bye week in Week 9. This is a team that could very well be somewhere in the 6-2 range at this point. Maybe even, gulp, better. Even if it’s worse, this is great time to get healthy.
Then in the back half of the season, things get fun. The Lions play five of their six annual divisional games after the bye. If things play out ideally, the Lions will be making a playoff run with a healthier team and a schedule filled with teams from one of the weakest-looking divisions in football.
Perhaps the best thing about the Lions’ final stretch is that you won’t have to hear that dumb “Jared Goff stinks in cold weather” thing this year, because the Lions really aren’t even playing in cold weather. The Lions have nine games after the bye. One is in Los Angeles and seven of them are indoors. The Lions’ only cold weather exposure is going to be their Week 14 game in Chicago. That’s pretty damn good for a team that scored a ton of points indoors last season with an offense that’s arguably even better this year.
This schedule just fits the Lions strengths and weaknesses in so many ways. As we all know, it’s hard to predict the way NFL seasons pan out. The teams we’re sure are good, can sometimes nosedive into horrible, and the teams we’re sure will be horrible may wind up making the playoffs. Making predictions this time of year is dangerous. I think they’re incredibly irresponsible and have make no sense, but I’m going to do it anyways because I’m incredibly irresponsible and I make no sense.
Going over the schedule and seeing how thing lays out, I am hereby predicting that the Lions finish with a 12-5 record and win the NFC North for the very first time ever. Buckle up everyone, it’s going to be quite a ride.