With the NFL being a year-round business, The 2014 season is officially underway. For the Detroit Lions, the offseason is a source of pride after most seasons have ended in disappointment, including 2013. Change has already occurred with new head coach Jim Caldwell, and a new coaching staff is in place that will trying to fix the ills of the Jim Schwartz era.
While the offseason is barely a day old and zero free agents have signed, it is not too early to predict what will happen in 2014.
Aside from the six divisional games each team plays every year, the Lions will face the four AFC East teams and the four NFC South teams along with the New York Giants and the Arizona Cardinals as at-large opponents.
In the AFC East, the only real juggernaut is the New England Patriots, which the Lions will face on the road. Yet with all of the injuries they suffered last season, the Patriots aren’t the dominant team of their previous years. The Lions will get a chance to welcome back Schwartz to Detroit as the Lions will host the Buffalo Bills, who now have Schwartz as their new defensive coordinator.
The NFC South opponents that the Lions will face are a favorable draw. The Lions get the New Orleans Saints at home in Ford Field in a rematch of the 2011 wild card loss, and the Saints are a different team than when they play in the Superdome.
Detroit will have their work cut out for them with a road game against the Carolina Panthers squad that features one of the best defenses in the NFL, and will also go overseas for the first time as they take on the Atlanta Falcons in London.
The Lions also will have two opportunities to get revenge for losses from last season. The Lions will go on the road to take on the Arizona Cardinals hoping to redeem a Week 2 loss last year. Detroit also will get a chance to rectify their Week 16 playoff-eliminating defeat last year against the New York Giants at Ford Field.
Looking within the division, the NFC North is up for grabs as the winner last year was the Green Bay Packers at 8-7-1. In 2014, the Lions will get the chance to get the bad taste of 2013 out of their mouths with a favorable schedule.