Since the Detroit Lions’ schedule was released, predictions for how the team will fare in the upcoming season have been all over the map. Most see the team finishing in the 8-8/9-7 range, although some have predicted that they bottom out, finishing with a dismal 5-11 record.
Since we are upon the season of predictions, here is my best shot.
Week One: Monday Night Football vs New York Jets
New coach Matt Patricia spent 14 years in the NFC East, so it’s a good bet that he knows the Jets quite well. If most of the mock drafts out there are correct, the Jets will have a rookie quarterback on the roster, as well. Although it’s more likely that either Teddy Bridgewater or Josh McKown will be starting this particular game, it’s hard to envision the Lions not being able to beat a lowly Jets team. Lions win to start the season.
Prediction: 27-13 Lions (1-0)
Week Two: @ San Francisco 49ers
Patricia should have a good feel for this one, as well. 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garappolo, who played backup to Tom Brady the past few years, has been Patricia’s nemesis (only in practice, of course) for quite some time now. Predictions for this game generally lean towards a close game and I’ll take the Lions in this one, as well.
Prediction: 31-24 Lions (2-0)
Week Three: Sunday Night Football vs New England Patriots
Unfortunately, the teacher (Bill Belichick) gets the best of his student in this one. Although Patricia is familiar with how the Patriots operate, the gap in talent between the teams is going to be too much for Detroit to overcome here. Patriots win.
Prediction: 34-21 Patriots (2-1)
Week Four: @ Dallas Cowboys
Dez Bryant is no longer with Dallas, but unfortunately for the Lions, Ezekiel Elliott is. Unless Detroit does something to greatly improve their run defense between now and the time this game begins, Elliott will be licking his chops to get a crack at the Lions. Cowboys win.
Prediction: 31-17 Cowboys (2-2)
Week Five: vs Green Bay Packers
Green Bay’s offense may take a step back this year. In theory, Detroit’s offense should be a bit better this year. Aaron Rodgers is still one of the best quarterbacks in the game today, but the Lions should be able to at LEAST force a split with the Pack.
Prediction: 26-24 Lions (3-2)
Week Six: Bye
Week Seven: at Miami Dolphins
No Ndamukong Suh. No Jarvis Landry. Questions at the quarterback position. That is my best description of the Dolphins this year. It would be a disappointment if Detroit did not win this game.
Prediction: 34-17 Lions (4-2)
Week Eight: vs Seattle Seahawks
Seattle’s once feared defense has taken quite a hit. No more Richard Sherman, Cliff Avril, or Michael Bennett. We’ll see if Detroit’s defense can contain Russell Wilson, but they should be able to do enough offensively to keep the Seahawks at bay.
Prediction: 24-13 Lions (5-2)
Week Nine: @ Minnesota Vikings
This one will probably bring the Lions back down to earth. After a three game winning streak, the Vikings handle their business against Detroit. Minnesota is probably the best team in the division, and also a top team in the NFC. Minnesota wins.
Prediction: 31-13 Vikings (5-3)
Week Ten: @ Chicago Bears
Why is it always so tough for Detroit to play at Soldier Field? Your guess is as good as mine. Chicago has done a lot to improve their team this offseason, but there is still a good deal of difference in talent between these two teams. Chicago probably keeps it close throughout, but Detroit wins in the end.
Prediction: 27-24 Lions (6-3)
Week 11: vs Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton is a thorn in the side of the Lions. Carolina beat Detroit last year, and will do it again this year, again because of the doing of Newton. Might be an interesting game, but Detroit falls short.
Prediction: 24-14 Panthers (6-4)
Week 12: vs Chicago Bears
Call it a sweep. Detroit handled their business against the Bears earlier in the season at Soldier Field, and should have no problem taking care of a less superior team at home.
Prediction: 34-17 Lions (7-4)
Week 13: vs Los Angeles Rams
Hopefully Matthew Stafford eats his Wheaties before this game. The Rams feature a defensive line that boasts Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald. With any luck, Stafford comes out of this game unscathed.
Prediction: 30-14 Rams (7-5)
Week 14: @ Arizona Cardinals
It’d be disappointing if Detroit doesn’t get back on track in this one. Arizona is rebuilding, and Detroit should enjoy playing in a warm weather game in December.
Prediction: 27-10 Lions (8-5)
Week 15: @ Buffalo Bills
From warm weather, to what could very well be a blizzard. Thanks a lot, NFL scheduling department! This will be close to a must-win game for Detroit if they have any hopes of making it to the playoffs this year. They will find a way to win a sloppy game.
Prediction: 21-14 Lions (9-5)
Week 16: vs Minnesota Vikings
Too much of a gap in talent between these teams. Detroit will need a win to keep pushing towards a playoff spot, but Minnesota is simply too good.
Prediction: 31-28 Vikings (9-6)
Week 17: @ Green Bay Packers
Hopefully nine wins is enough for a wild card spot. With a shot at the playoffs in the balance for both teams, the Packers emerge victorious in the regular season finale.
Prediction: 28-17 Packers (9-7)