The Detroit Lions are still four and a half months away from their regular season opener, but let’s take an awfully-early look the Lions schedule on a game-by-game basis.
There’s plenty of ways to go about predicting wins and losses when the NFL schedule is released in April; worst-case scenarios, best-case scenarios, dividing the season into quarters, the list goes on.
As a Lions fan, it’s hard to predict wins and losses. It’s hard to predict which games the Lions will throw away when they have a fourth-quarter lead or when the epic collapse will inevitably occur. The hope that’s programmed inside Lions fans from March until September is blinding, causing one to lose sight of how their beloved team has tortured them in years past.
So let’s throw all of the logical thinking aside. There’s no doubting that 2014 will be another emotional roller coaster, full of highs and lows. The thought process behind these predictions is this: The Detroit Lions are so unpredictable, that they have become predictable.
Without further ado, let’s jump into the schedule.
Week 1: vs. New York Giants (Monday Night Football)
Loss. Just like week 16 in 2013, the Giants will come into Ford Field and beat the Lions. Detroit folds under pressure and fails to start 2014 off with a win.
Week 2: at Carolina Panthers
Win. Again, relating back to 2013, the Lions found a way to beat a mobile quarterback (Robert Griffin III) on the road and the Panthers are not the team they were a year ago.
Week 3: vs. Green Bay Packers
Loss. Home games are must wins, even more so if facing a divisional opponent. Exactly why the Lions drop this game.
Week 4: at New York Jets
Win. The Jets finished 2013 strong, however, they still don’t have any threatening quarterbacks. This is the part of the season where the Lions restore hope among fans, following a 1-2 start.
Week 5: vs. Buffalo Bills
Win. Former head coach Jim Schwartz is back in town. His replacement, Jim Caldwell, will have his team prepared to make an on-field statement that this team is far better without Schwartz.
Week 6: at Minnesota Vikings
Win. No Jared Allen, no problem taking care of business with the Vikings. The Lions now sit at 4-2.
Week 7: vs. New Orleans Saints
Loss. It’s nearly impossible to beat Drew Brees in the comfort of a dome.
Week 8: at Atlanta Falcons (London)
Win. The Lions will win in thrilling fashion across the pond, creating a solid fan base in Europe, hoping to eventually crush their souls.
Week 9: Bye
Week 10: vs. Miami Dolphins
Win. Detroit is now thinking playoffs with a 6-3 start to the season.
Week 11: at Arizona Cardinals
Loss. Close your eyes, this is where the collapse begins. The Lions have never had success when traveling to the west coast.
Week 12: at New England Patriots
Loss. Two reasons: the coast-to-coast traveling and Tom Brady.
Week 13: vs. Chicago Bears (Thanksgiving)
Loss. It’s a short week, “collapse” whispers are surfacing, and the Lions lose in heart-breaking fashion. Detroit now sits 6-6 with a tough road ahead.
Week 14: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Win. Caldwell brings his players together, knowing the only reason that he is in that locker room is because this is the season to win.
Week 15: vs. Minnesota Vikings
Win. In the public eye, the Lions aren’t in the playoff picture at this point. They sneak right into that picture undetected.
Week 16: at Chicago Bears
Win. Week 16, playoff hopes still alive, the only problem is that the Lions have to travel to Chicago. Detroit is set up for failure, right? Wrong. This is the point in the season that everyone believes in the Lions, who are 9-6 heading into the final game of the season.
Week 17: at Green Bay Packers
The NFC North title is on the line, winner takes the division and loser is granted a wild-card playoff berth (at best). Last week’s victory over the Bears really set Lions fans up for complete devastation and the Packers have already beat Detroit once this season.
Remember when I mentioned the “inevitable collapse”?
Well, this isn’t it. This game will single-handedly change this franchise forever. The Lions win this game, win the NFC North title and will have a home-playoff game.
Granted, this isn’t a Super Bowl victory. However, it will mark the first time (as long as I can remember) that the Lions come out victorious in a do-or-die situation.
There’s five “wins” in the Lions’ schedule and 11 toss-ups. Even if Detroit only wins four of the five “win” games, a 6-5 record in the toss-up games will give the Lions a 10-6 record.
Whether or not you agree with these game-by-game predictions, the number of wins at the end of 2014 will be 10.