After making the playoffs last year, oddsmakers project the Detroit Lions will win just seven games in 2017. After looking at the schedule, do you agree?
After posting a 9-7 record last season and earning a wild card bid in the playoffs, the NFL did the Detroit Lions no favors when it came up with their schedule of opponents in 2017. On top of their historically tough divisional opponents, the Lions will face some of the best teams in the league this upcoming season.
In fact, the competition is so tough, CBS Sports recently published an article that said they believe the Motor City could be the recipient of the top overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. But maybe more realistically, Daniel Lewis of SportsLine.com projects the Lions to win 6.9 games in 2017. Here’s his explanation as to why…
"“A tough early schedule, along with playing in the same division as Aaron Rodgers and the Vikings’ elite defense, puts a cap on Detroit’s win potential,” wrote Lewis on the oddsmaker’s website. “But Jim Caldwell has guided the Lions to the playoffs twice in the past three years, and Matthew Stafford is coming off arguably his best year.”"
The Lions’ certainly do play in a tough division with the Green Bay Packers (10-6), Minnesota Vikings (8-8) and Chicago Bears (3-13) as longtime rivals. But all three had their ups and downs last season.
Packer’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers played poorly the first half of the season before bouncing back to playoff form. The Vikings suffered a major blow when starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a devastating knee injury that’s threatened his career. And the Chicago Bears are still trying to climb out of the division’s basement after several seasons of mediocrity.
Beyond their divisional foes, the Lions will face the Arizona Cardinals (7-8-1), the New York Giants (11-5), the Atlanta Falcons (11-5), the Carolina Panthers (6-10), the New Orleans Saints (7-9), the Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5), the Cleveland Browns (1-15), the Baltimore Ravens (8-8), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7) and the Cincinnati Bengals (6-9-1) in 2017.
Nine of the Lions upcoming games are against teams that posted a winning record in 2016. That includes the Falcons, who made it all the way to the Super Bowl last season. In fact, I don’t believe you can rule out any contest as a “gimmie” next season with the exception of the lowly Browns.
Last year, the Detroit Lions went 3-3 against divisional opponents. If the Lions hope to break that seven win prediction, they’ll need to play much better against their NFC North rivals.