Predicting 6 Lions matchups that should be national broadcasts

USA Today

When the 2024 NFL schedule gets revealed this week, expect to see the Detroit Lions featured several times in prime-time or national broadcasts. As the NFL expands into more days, time slots and broadcasting ventures, Detroit will be a popular option to draw in significant viewership for the networks.

The Lions always get at least one, of course. The annual Thanksgiving game in the early national time slot is a time-honored tradition. Now that the Lions are national darlings coming off a trip to the NFC Championship game, they’ll be featured a lot more.

Here are six Detroit matchups that the nation deserves to see in prime time or as an exclusive national audience.

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At Houston Texans

Jan 20, 2024; Baltimore, MD, USA; Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) drops back to pass against the Baltimore Ravens in the first half of a 2024 AFC divisional round game at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Much like the Lions, the Texans also surged far beyond expectations in 2023. With dynamic rookie QB C.J. Stroud and energetic head coach Demeco Ryans, the Texans are one of the AFC’s brightest contenders. A Monday Night Football date with the Lions in Week 2 would be a great time for this matchup of rising contenders.

Green Bay Packers

Sep 28, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Detroit Lions running back David Montgomery (5) reacts after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers look to be the most viable contender to the Lions’ NFC North supremacy. It’s an easy sell for viewers around the country, too. The home date in Detroit would be a nice kickoff to a weekly slate in December.

At San Francisco 49ers

Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams makes a catch for a touchdown against 49ers cornerback Deommodore Lenoir during the second half of the Lions’ 34-31 loss in the NFC championship game in Santa Clara, California, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024.

The rematch of the 2023 NFC Championship Game is another matchup with great national appeal. Sunday Night Football in Week 4 would be a good time to feature this heavyweight bout.

Minnesota Vikings

Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) gestures to teammates before a snap against the Washington Huskies during the third quarter in the 2024 College Football Playoff national championship game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Welcoming former Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy back to the area as the rookie QB of the Vikings later in the season, once we’re sure he will be Minnesota’s starter, makes sense. Doing it on Thanksgiving, with the Ohio State-Michigan matchup two days later (albeit in Columbus), would be a fun tie-in for the broadcast networks.

At Dallas Cowboys

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – DECEMBER 30: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to throw a pass against the Detroit Lions during the second quarter in the game at AT&T Stadium on December 30, 2023 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

One of 2023’s highest-rated games was Detroit’s late-season trip to Dallas. Slating the rematch early in the season on a Monday night–let’s say Week 6–would be another must-watch prime-time event.

At Chicago Bears

Apr 26, 2024; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears number one draft choice Caleb Williams at a press conference at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears have two top-10 rookies, notably celebrity QB Caleb Williams, that attract some national appeal to Chicago. They’ll get an extra prime-time game or two out of it, and drawing in the Lions for a potential snowy-weather game in Week 17–with potential playoff implications–is a good way to showcase Chicago. Subject to flex if the young Bears aren’t ready for prime-time, of course…

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