Early bye week is nothing new for the Detroit Lions

An early bye week, while not ideal, is really nothing new for the Detroit Lions.
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The NFL has successfully turned their regular season schedule announcement into an event, with their own leaks or marquee games, other "unconfirmed" leaks throughout the day of the schedule release and a two-hour prime time show on two networks to discuss the schedule.

Now, we can dive into perceived advantages and disadvantages of each team's schedule. Players and coaches tend to focus on the Week 1 opponent, prime time, short week and holiday games and when the bye week is.

One bone the Detroit Lions could pick with their 2024 schedule is the bye week. It's coming in Week 5, the earliest bye week on this year's schedule overall. That means they'll have 13 straight weeks without a break, with the traditional short week for Thanksgiving that ends a stretch with three games in 12 days. After the Thanksgiving game, they won't get extra days with a Thursday night game scheduled the following week.

Early bye week is nothing new for the Detroit Lions

The Lions had what would be considered a perfectly-placed bye week last year-Week 9. In 2022, it was Week 6, in 2021 in was Week 9, in 2020 it was Week 5, in 2019 it was Week 5, in 2018 it was Week 6. It's worth noting that 2021 was the start of the 17-game regular season schedule.

John Whiticar of Pride of Detroit went back through 2015 to look at when the average bye week has been for every NFL team.

Over that span, per Whiticar, the Lions have the earliest average bye week in the league (Week 7.1). Just two other teams (Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks) have an average bye week earlier than Week 8 over that span, and the second-place (earliest) Cowboys are almost a half-a-week later (7.5). As Whiticar noted, the Lions and Cowboys hosting Thanksgiving games every year may lean the schedule makers toward an earlier bye week for them. The Indianapolis Colts have the latest average bye week since 2015-Week 10.6.

An early bye week is not ideal, nor will it be used as an excuse. But the Lions are used to it, for better or worse.


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