With the 2023 regular season now officially over, we know a big part of the Detroit Lions’ 2024 schedule: all 17 of their opponents. While the actual dates of these games won’t be decided until April or May, the nine home opponents and eight away opponents are set in stone.
Here’s how the Lions’ opponents were decided. Every year, divisions rotate the other divisions they’ll face off against—one from the NFC, one from the AFC. This year, the NFC North will play all of the teams from the NFC West and all of the team’s from the AFC South. You may remember that in 2023, the Lions swept both of the divisions they went against (AFC West, NFC South). That’ll likely be much more difficult next year, as the NFC West features a dangerous 49ers and Rams team, while the AFC West features up-and-coming Texans and Colts teams.
In addition to those cross-divisional games, the Lions will also have to face the division winners of the NFC South, AFC East, and NFC East. This is commonly referred to as the “first-place schedule,” which the Lions must have after winning their own division. In short, to promote parity, three games of each team’s schedule are matched up with another team that finished in the same place of their respective division. So first-place teams play first-place teams, last-place teams face last-place teams. Naturally, this is going to look like a more difficult schedule than normal for Detroit, because the Lions are playing a “first-place schedule” rather than their typical third or fourth-place schedule.
Additionally, the NFC and AFC rotate between having the extra home game on a 17-game schedule. For this upcoming season, the NFC has the extra home game, so there will be nine games scheduled at Ford Field (unless Detroit gets an international game).
So now that you know how the sausage is made, here’s your first look at all of the Lions’ 2024 opponents.