Detroit Lions 2013 Schedule Analysis and Predictions
Detroit Lions 2013 Schedule
On Thursday, the NFL released the official 2013 schedules. The opponents have been known for months, but how the games would line up was not revealed until late Thursday night. The Detroit Lions, who will play one of the toughest schedules, were rewarded with two national television games.
Last season, the Lions had an early by week (Week 5) and held a disappointing 1-3 record before their week off. This year, Detroit will complete half of their schedule before they are given a week off. This will be key for the Lions season as they need to have a 5-3 or 4-4 record to realistically make the NFL Playoffs.
Detroit had an improved 4-4 record at the midway point last season, but then lost their remaining eight games to finish with a 4-12 record on the season. Detroit had a tough schedule and actually played in the toughest division in the league. The NFC North, which also features the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears, won 35 games collectively. The Packers and Vikings both made the Playoffs, while the Bears fell just short despite a 10-6 record.
In 2013, the Lions will have to play six games against their NFC North rivals. The Lions will also take on the NFC East teams, who posted 31 wins collectively and had three teams with at least eight wins. The AFC North, which will face off against the Lions, had 33 wins in the 2012 season and also had three teams post eight or more wins.
Click through the slideshow to see the Lions 2013 opponents and predictions on their final record and whether they can earn a trip back to the NFL Playoffs.
Chris Katje is the featured Detroit Lions writer for Rant Sports. Follow Chris on Twitter
Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
The Detroit Lions lost two close games to the Vikings in the 2012 season. Detroit did start the 2012 season on the right foot winning its home opener and should be able to do the same in 2013.
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals (5-11)
The matchup against the Cardinals will be one of only four games against teams that had losing records in the 2012 season. Arizona will have a new head coach in the 2013 with Bruce Arians. The former Indianapolis Colts assistant won Coach of the Year in 2012 after taking over for Chuck Pagano. The Colts made the Playoffs and had a 9-3 record with Arians in charge. In a tough schedule, this could be a must win game for Detroit.
Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins
Washington Redskins (10-6)
With a 10-6 record, the Redskins made the NFL Playoffs in 2012. Behind the success of Robert Griffin III, the Redskins were one of the surprise teams in 2012. If RGIII can return to health from a gruesome injury, Washington will be a tough defensive matchup for opponents.
Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears (10-6)
The Detroit Lions will face NFC North division rival Chicago Bears twice in 2013. The first matchup will be home in week four. The Bears will be led by new head coach Marc Trestman. Coaching in the Canadian Football League, Trestman had a 59-31-0 record. Trestman won two Grey Cups and finished runner up once in his five seasons. All five seasons, the Montreal Alouettes posted at least ten wins.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers (11-5)
The Packers are one of many teams that made the Playoffs in 2012 that the Lions will face. The Packers also won the NFC North division. The Lions have not had success against the Packers and are virtually winless at Lambeau Field in the last ten years. This is a game I don't think they can win.
Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns (5-11)
In Week six, the Detroit Lions may face a must win game in Cleveland. This game follows two NFC North division games against the Bears and Packers. The Browns will be led by new head coach Rob Chudzinski, who was the offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers for the last two seasons. The Browns are one of only four opponents who had a losing record in 2012.
Detroit Lions vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
In 2012, the Bengals made the NFL Playoffs with a 10-6 record. The matchup against the Detroit Lions in 2013 could be determined by two former University of Georgia alumni. Matthew Stafford and A.J. Green were a premiere quarterback and wide receiver duo as Bulldogs. Both players will be looking for big offensive numbers to help their team to a victory.
Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys (8-8)
Tony Romo was awarded a big contract in the 2013 NFL off-season. The Cowboys will be counting on him to improve on the team's 8-8 2012 record and make the NFL Playoffs. The Lions could fall victim to the Cowboys in week eight. This will be the last game of the season prior to the Lion's bye week, so a win would be an amazing momentum move.
Detroit Lions Bye Week 9
Detroit Lions Bye Week 9
Last season, the Lions had their bye week in week five and held a 1-3 record. This season the Lions will play half their season before the bye week. I have the Lions holding a 5-3 record at this point and think that will be the key for a chance at the NFL Playoffs.
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears (10-6)
The Bears will take on the Bears for the second time in week 10. Of not is the fact that new head coach Marc Trestman was actually the Detroit Lions quarterback coach during the 1997 season. Under Trestman, quarterback Scott Mitchell threw for 3,484 yards. My prediction is for the Lions to split the home and away series with the Bears in 2013.
Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
The Steelers were one of the disappointments in the AFC in 2012. After an injury to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers struggled down the stretch and missed the NFL Playoffs. The team, who is consistently good at home, shouldn't have a problem beating Detroit if the team is 100%.
Detroit Lions vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9)
The Buccaneers finished with a losing record in 2012, but saw an impressive performance from running back Doug Martin. If the Lions can shut down Martin and force the Buccaneers to throw, they could win this game. Against opponents who had losing records in 2012, the Lions will know that they are must win games. This game will be played only four days before the team's annual Thanksgiving Day Game.
Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers (11-5)
I may be making a bold prediction by picking the Detroit Lions to win their Thanksgiving Day game. The Lions have been consistently bad against the Packers and also continue to lose on Thanksgiving Day. However, I believe the team is improved from 2012 and will need to win this game. The last time the two teams met on the holiday, Ndamukong Suh was kicked out for stomping on Evan Dietrich-Smith. Last season, Suh once again had a questionable kick on Thanksgiving Day. Expect Suh to put up big numbers to silence his critics.
Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles (4-12)
For the first time in fifteen seasons, the Eagles will be led by someone other than Andy Reid. The longtime Eagles coach was fired after a disappointing 2012 season. The Eagles bring in Chip Kelly, former coach of the Oregon Ducks. Kelly will likely run an up tempo offense that scores a lot of points. This could be in the Lions favor as last year they were one of the top five offensive teams in the league. Expect a high scoring shootout here.
Detroit Lions vs. Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
The Detroit Lions were rewarded with a home Monday Night Football game despite their disappointing 2012 season. However, that game will feature the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens. Baltimore's team will look different after several key free agent departures. This game could be a close one, but the edge goes to the defending champs.
Detroit Lions vs. New York Giants
New York Giants (9-7)
It's hard to believe that the Giants, led by quarterback Eli Manning, missed the NFL Playoffs in 2012. The disappointing results will likely not follow in 2013. Despite being in the tough NFC East division, I see the Giants and Redskins both making the Playoffs. Lions could have a tough time winning at home as both teams fight to make the postseason.
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
This will be an exciting matchup and thanks to the NFL's pairing of division rivals in Week 17, could determine the NFC North race and playoff spots. This will be the last regular season game played at the Vikings' Metrodome. Expect Minnesota to want to win this game. However, I see the Lions winning the game to finish with a winning record and outside shot of making the NFL Playoffs.
Detroit Lions 2013 Predictions
The 2013 schedule does no favor for the Detroit Lions. The team faces seven games against 2012 NFL Playoff teams. In fact, the Lions only face four teams that posted losing records in 2012. Working in the Lions favor may be their schedule that is heavy against new head coaches. I see Detroit posting a winning record and barely missing the NFL Playoffs.
Final Prediction: 9-7
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