Lions schedule: Game-by-game wins and losses predictions

USA Today

Now that the Detroit Lions regular season schedule for 2024 is out, it’s time for the annual rite of passage that is the schedule game.

Predicting wins and losses for the entire season, game by game, in mid-May is a good exercise in thinking about the Lions but also the status of their opponents. The free agency and 2024 NFL draft additions have changed the dynamics for every team. The Lions are better now than they were when they lost the NFC Championship Game in San Francisco in January, but nearly every other team on the schedule got better, too.

The current over/under lines for the Lions win totals range between 10.5 and 11.5 at various sportsbooks. Detroit went 12-5 in 2023 and won the NFC North division with the same 10.5 over/under figure at this point last year.

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Week 1: Los Angeles Rams

Detroit Lions offensive tackle Penei Sewell sets up to block Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald during the second half at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021.

Sunday Night Football in Ford Field. It’s a rematch of the Lions’ first postseason victory in over 30 years just a few short months ago.

Projection: win, 1-0

Week 2: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown celebrates the 31-23 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC divisional round at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024.

Detroit’s postseason sequence from 2023 continues with a visit from the Buccaneers, the team the Lions beat in the NFC Divisional round in January. Statement game for the visitors sandwiched between what look to be the two easiest games on Tampa Bay’s schedule.

Projection: loss, 1-1

Week 3: At Arizona Cardinals

Detroit Lions wide receiver Kalif Raymond (11) is tackled by Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Zaven Collins (25) during first half action on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, at Ford Field in Detroit.

Lions Ariz

Detroit’s first road game sends them to Phoenix to face the Cardinals. Good time to play Arizona, which figures to be relying on a lot of new, young pieces in an overhauled secondary. Should be a favorable matchup for Jared Goff and the Lions passing attack.

Projection: win, 2-1

Week 4: Seattle Seahawks

Sep 17, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone (34) sacks Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) in the fourth quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

The Seahawks are always tough for Detroit, with Seattle winning nine of the last 10 meetings and six in a row in the series. Alim McNeill, Aidan Hutchinson and the Lions pass rush will have to dominate, and they match up well against the biggest weakness on the Seahawks (on paper), their meh interior OL.

Projection: win, 3-1 entering the bye week

Week 6: At Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions offensive tackle Taylor Decker (68) catches the ball in the end zone for a 2-point conversion against Dallas Cowboys during the second half at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023. The play was flagged for illegal touching.

How will the NFL produce a contrived win for Dallas over Detroit? They’re running out of ways to put the thumb on the scale for the Cowboys, who had an underwhelming offseason and are heavily dependent on a young OL jelling quickly. Dallas gets a bye after this game, while the Lions are coming off the (too-early) bye.

Projection: loss, 3-2

Week 7: At Minnesota Vikings

Dec 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Detroit Lions running back David Montgomery (5) runs past Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) during the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit’s first NFC North matchup is on the road in Minnesota. The Vikings will be coming off their bye week after a London trip to play the Jets.

Projection: loss, 3-3

Week 8: Tennessee Titans

Detroit Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara (95) sacks Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) for a safety during the second quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn.

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Not-so-fun fact: The Lions have never beaten the Titans since the franchise relocated from Houston. There’s a first time for everything.

Projection: win, 4-3

Week 9: At Green Bay Packers

Sep 28, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta (87) picks up 35 yards on a reception against Green Bay Packers safety Rudy Ford (20) during the first quarterat Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit’s first outdoor game comes on a Sunday night in Green Bay, which is never an easy place to play. The Packers are coming off the road here from Jacksonville and this matchup leads into their bye week. Detroit’s enviable package of weapons will need to be sharp here.

Projection: win, 5-3

Week 10: At Houston Texans

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – OCTOBER 08: Craig Reynolds #13 of the Detroit Lions scores a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at Ford Field on October 08, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

The upstart Texans won the AFC South in 2023 and are coming off the mini-bye of playing on Thursday night (at the Jets) in Week 9, while the Lions hit the road again with the shorter week. Tough draw for Detroit in a game that’s probably a coin-flip game in prime-time.

Projection: loss, 5-4

Week 11: Jacksonville Jaguars

Dec 4, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) is sacked by Detroit Lions linebacker James Houston (59) in the second quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Yet another game where the Lions face an opponent that goes on bye immediately after the game. The Jaguars are not to be slept on, but this might be the most convincing victory on the schedule — just as it played out the last time these teams met in 2022.

Projection: win, 6-4

Week 12: At Indianapolis Colts

Detroit Lions running back Jermar Jefferson (28) runs against Indianapolis Colts safety Shawn Davis (31) during the first half of a preseason game at Ford Field in Detroit, Friday, August 27, 2021.

The Colts are a tough team to pin down for 2024, but Anthony Richardson is the kind of QB that has given Aaron Glenn’s defenses fits over the years–a mobile QB who can throw deep. Good chance for the Lions to really start rolling here against what looks like a thin, vulnerable defense.

Projection: win, 7-4

Week 13: Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions receiver Jameson Williams celebrates his touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023.

Thanksgiving. Time to finally get back on the winning track in the traditional Thursday afternoon game. It’s been too long. The Bears are much improved, but this will be their first road game in four weeks and their third division game in a row.

Projection: win, 8-4

Week 14: Green Bay Packers

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – NOVEMBER 23: Tracy Walker III #21 and Aidan Hutchinson #97 of the Detroit Lions pressure Jordan Love #10 of the Green Bay Packers during the fourth quarter of the game at Ford Field on November 23, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Back to prime-time on Prime for Thursday night. Green Bay will be in the midst of what looks to be a brutal stretch of its schedule. Huge opportunity for the Lions to seize the division here.

Projection: win, 9-4

Week 15: Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions tight end Brock Wright (89) is tackled by Buffalo Bills cornerback Taron Johnson (7) during the first half at Ford Field in Detroit on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022.

Josh Allen is the exact prototype of quarterback that has ruined the Lions lately, but he’s got perhaps the weakest team around him in Buffalo in a few years. Dan Campbell’s “play to win” style should help Detroit here.

Projection: win, 10-4

Week 16: At Chicago Bears

Dec 10, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Detroit Lions defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson (97) pressures Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) in the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Into each season a little snow must fall. Outdoors in Chicago in December is always a challenge. Keep in mind it could also be Bears rookie QB Caleb Williams’ first time in (potentially) harsh weather conditions, too…

Projection: loss, 10-5

Week 17: At San Francisco 49ers

Lions defensive tackle Alim McNeill celebrates a play against the 49ers during the second half of the Lions’ 34-31 loss in the NFC championship game in Santa Clara, California, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024.

It’s the final Monday Night Football game of the season, with all teams playing on Sunday in Week 18. Expect the Lions to be underdogs in the NFC Championship rematch in another outdoor game where weather could be a real factor.

Projection: loss, 10-6

Week 18: Minnesota Vikings

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – JANUARY 07: Jack Campbell #46 of the Detroit Lions sacks Nick Mullens #12 of the Minnesota Vikings during the first quarter at Ford Field on January 07, 2024 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Finish the job. Win the NFC North by vanquishing the Vikings.

Projection: win, 11-6 and an NFC North division title on a tie-breaker

Just for added context:
Green Bay 11-6
Chicago 10-7
Minnesota 6-11

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