Detroit Lions' 2019 schedule could cause a rough start

Matthew Stafford and the Lions face another tough start to a season. AP Photo/Paul Sancya

The NFL has released its 2019 regular-season schedule. Here's a look at what's in store for the Detroit Lions.

Game-by-game prediction

Lions reporter Michael Rothstein is predicting a 8-8 finish:

Sept. 8: at Arizona, Win

Sept. 15: vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Loss

Sept. 22: at Philadelphia, Loss

Sept. 29: vs. Kansas City, Loss

Oct. 14: at Green Bay, Loss

Oct. 20: vs. Minnesota, Win

Oct. 27: vs. New York Giants, Win

Nov. 3: at Oakland, Win

Nov. 10: at Chicago, Loss

Nov. 17: vs. Dallas, Win

Nov. 24: at Washington, Win

Nov. 28: vs. Chicago, Loss

Dec. 8: At Minnesota, Loss

Dec. 15: vs. Tampa Bay, Win

Dec. 21/22: at Denver, Loss

Dec. 29: vs. Green Bay, Win

Strength of schedule: T-19th, .496


It's going to be another tough start for the Lions, with two of the league's most explosive offenses last year coming to Ford Field in the first month of the season bracketed by a game at Philadelphia. The close of the schedule is manageable with two home games in the final three weeks of the season. The opener at Arizona, if the Cardinals draft Kyler Murray and play him, could be interesting considering what rookie quarterback Sam Darnold did to Matt Patricia’s defense in last year's opener, annihilating the Lions 48-17 on Monday Night Football.

Bears on Thanksgiving again

It's a similar cadence to the 2018 schedule, where the Lions went to Chicago in the middle of November (they played there in Week 10 last year, too) and then playing at home against the Bears on Thanksgiving. The Lions lost both those games a year ago and Chicago is the tightest scheduling cluster of an NFC North team for the Lions. Detroit plays the Packers in Weeks 6 and 17 and Minnesota in Weeks 7 and 14.

Not a must-see team

The good news for the Lions is there will be a level of consistency with their schedule. Thirteen games are scheduled for the 1 p.m. ET Sunday time slot. The outliers are Thanksgiving, which has a 12:30 p.m. ET start, and at Green Bay on Monday Night Football in Week 6. Otherwise, the Lions have early Sunday games except for the one not yet scheduled: Denver in Week 16. This can change with flex scheduling, of course, but it shows that the Lions are not viewed as an attractive TV option this season.