Detroit Lions tough schedule does new head coach no favors
The Detroit Lions have placed their playoff hopes on the shoulders of a first time head coach, but their upcoming schedule has done him no favors.
The Detroit Lions franchise made a strong statement about their future when they opted to fire former head coach Jim Caldwell earlier this year. The Lions will no longer settle for regular season success alone. Detroit must win in the playoffs.
Under the reign of Caldwell, the Lions experience rare success. Detroit posted a winning record for three out of his four seasons in the Motor City. And the one year they didn’t, the team still won seven games.
The Lions also earned two playoff berths during Caldwell’s tenure in Detroit. Unfortunately, his teams were never able to win in the postseason ultimately resulting in his departure.
In Caldwell’s place, Lions general manager Bob Quinn turned to an old friend. The New England Patroits alum was able to lure former Pats defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to take over the reins in the Motor City.
A three-time Super Bowl champion, Patricia brings sky high expectations to Detroit. Taking over a team on the precipice of playoff relevance, the 43-year old first time head coach is expected to take get the Lions over the hump and earn the beloved franchise it’s first postseason victory since 1992.
Unfortunately, the Lions upcoming schedule does Patricia no real favors. Let’s take a look at Detroit’s upcoming schedule of opponents in 2018.
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Week 1: vs. New York Jets (5-11)
Week 2: @ San Francisco 49ers (6-10)
Week 3: vs. New England Patriots (13-3)*
Week 4: @ Dallas Cowboys (9-7)
Week 5: vs. Green Bay Packers (7-9)
Week 6: Bye
Week 7: @ Miami Dolphins (6-10)
Week 8: vs. Seattle Seahawks (9-7)*
Week 9: @ Minnesota Vikings (13-3)*
Week 10: @ Chicago Bears (5-11)
Week 11: vs. Carolina Panthers (11-5)*
Week 12: vs. Chicago Bears (5-11)
Week 13: vs. Los Angeles Rams (11-5)*
Week 14: @ Arizona Cardinals (8-8)
Week 15: @ Buffalo Bills (9-7)*
Week 16: vs. Minnesota Vikings (13-3)*
Week 17: @ Green Bay Packers (7-9)
*denotes a 2017 playoff team
The Lions upcoming opponents have a combined record of 112-96 in 2017, counting divisional rivals only once. Seven of Detroit 2018 games involve teams that went to the postseason last year, with the Vikings counting twice.
Last season, the Lions went 5-1 against divisional opponents. The return of a healthy quarterback in Aaron Rodgers to the Packers likely puts a repeat performance in jeopardy.
Games against the resurgent 49ers, who won six of their last seven games last season, the Patroits, Cowboys, Seahawks, Panthers and Rams look to be the most difficult matchups outside of the NFC North.
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The point here being, the Detroit Lions upcoming schedule has done the first time head coach absolutely no favors. Matt Patricia could find it difficult to exceed the results produced by his predecessor, Jim Caldwell, in Year One. That’s unless Patricia’s presence and scheme can quickly take this Lions’ squad to another level.