By: Ryan Wooley
With the NFL season now officially underway, I thought it would be the perfect time to revisit the Detroit Lions schedule and prepare fans for what I think will be a bumpy first half of the season, but also a fun and enjoyable second half.
It goes without saying that Detroit has high expectations not only from within the organization, but from fans and media alike. But if we’ve learned anything by watching the Detroit Tigers all summer, it’s that nothing is guaranteed and no matter how good a team should be, all that matters is what happens on the field.
With that said, I see the Lions jumping out to a fast start this season by taking a 3-1 record into their bye week, as I think they will man-handle the Rams in the season opener, fall to the 49ers on the road in week two and then pick up their first two game winning streak of the year by beating the Titans out in Tennessee and the Vikings at home.
The 3-1 record will have fans feeling pretty good and thinking the team picked up where they left off last season, but hope will quickly fade following the bye week after they suffer their first two game losing streak of the year by falling to the Eagles and Bears on the road to drop to 3-3.
With the .500 record six games into the season a lot of fans will be complaining about the Madden curse and how this team really messed up in the draft by not taking running back LaMichael James over wideout Ryan Broyles and how they didn’t address the secondary—but all that will quickly fade away after the team rattles off three straight wins over the helpless Seahawks, Jaguars and Vikings to move to 6-3.
Being three games over the .500 mark will bring back all the bandwagon fans that jumped off at 3-3 and set the stage for a big showdown with the Packers at Ford Field. It will also be the start of a four game stretch that will see the team go 2-2, falling to the Packers twice in a four week period but defeating the Colts and Texans in between–with the win over Houston giving the Lions their first Thanksgiving victory since 2003!
The final three games will be crucial for Detroit if they hope to contend for another playoff spot and I see them taking two. I think they will defeat the Cardinals in Arizona, fall to the Falcons at home on Saturday night—even though it is technically Monday Night Football and they will close out the season by defeating the Bears at home to finish the year 10-6.
Will 10-6 be enough to get into the playoffs? I think it should be. It might even be enough to win the division, but I see them splitting with Chicago, sweeping Minnesota and losing both games to Green Bay—which means the Packers will have to be knocked around by a few other teams both in the division and around the league for that to happen.
All in all, this season promises to be one of the most memorable and fun seasons for Detroit Lion fans in a long time but will require them to have patience as the team tries to weather the early storm, so they can enjoy a possible second straight post-season berth.
Follow Ryan Wooley on Twitter @WooleyMammoth85