Detroit Lions 2021 schedule: Here are the opponents, home and away

Detroit Free Press

Marlowe Alter
| Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Lions‘ 2021 opponent schedule is nearly final.

We know the opponents for 16 games the Lions will play, but with the NFL likely to add a 17th game in the regular season starting in 2021, we don’t know the opponent of the additional game for each team. We do know the scheduling procedure for the proposed extra game: The Lions would play a fifth matchup vs. an AFC opponent based on divisional standings from the preceding season, and on a rotating divisional basis. 

It will also create a uneven amount of home and road games for teams (9/8 or 8/9). The league has played a 16-game schedule since 1978, when it added two games to each team’s schedule.

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For the third straight season, the Lions (5-11) finished last in the NFC North, so they will again play a last-place schedule.

In addition to playing six divisional home-and-away games against Green Bay, Chicago and Minnesota, the Lions play the AFC North (Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Baltimore and Cincinnati), the NFC West (Seattle, L.A. Rams, San Francisco and Arizona) and the last-place teams in the NFC South (Atlanta) and NFC East (Philadelphia).

The 17th game, according to Albert Breer of SI, will be vs. the team with the corresponding divisional finish in the AFC West, which is Denver. The location of the game is unknown.

Here’s the full breakdown of the Lions’ 2021 games, which will feature a new general manager, head coach and likely a remade roster:

HOME: Green Bay, Chicago, Minnesota, San Francisco, Arizona, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cincinnati.

AWAY: Green Bay, Chicago, Minnesota, L.A. Rams, Seattle, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Cleveland.

TBD: Denver.

Dates and times of games won’t be released by the NFL until sometime this spring.

Nine of those games feature teams who made the playoffs this season, with six games coming on the road.

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The 2021 game between the Lions and Cards will be the fifth straight season the two play, a rarity for non-divisional opponents. The Lions defeated Arizona in the 2017 opener at Ford Field, then visited the Cardinals the past three seasons, winning twice and tying in the 2019 opener. The Cardinals are one of six NFL franchises the Lions have a winning record against (34-26-4) since moving to Detroit in 1934.

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Follow Marlowe Alter on Twitter: @Marlowe Alter

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