The Detroit Lions Have One of the NFL’s Easiest Schedules in 2023
The Lions will take on the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs Thursday, September 7, to kick off the season. That decision by the NFL feels somewhat backhanded by certain sects of the fanbase as the opening game in recent years has usually given the champion a playoff opponent to open the regular season. The Lions just missed the 2022 playoffs mathematically and are on the upswing of their rebuild, but they'll still be considered heavy underdogs.
However, beyond that game, the Lions begin to have a fairly easy road all things considered. The Lions will play four playoff teams before its Week 9 BYE: the Chiefs, the Seattle Seahawks, the Tampa Bay Buccanneers and Baltimore Ravens. The Seahawks were a surprise team and are a formidable threat to the Lions having a .500 record after Week 2. The Buccaneers have been gutted since winning the Super Bowl three years ago, most notably and recently with the retirement of Tom Brady. The Ravens locked up Lamar Jackson and rebuilt its wide receiver corp and will likely be just as dangerous as ever.
After the BYE, Detroit will play three playoff teams, including the Minnesota Vikings twice. The Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers, two fairly talented teams that always seem to be contenders despite not getting over the hump, are the other two.
Drawing the NFC East and the divisional second-place teams around the NFC plays into the Lions benefit a great deal. The Lions, despite a questionable first round by many, came away with a largely well-graded draft class. Now with the 8th-easiest schedule in the NFL in 2023, it's not unreasonable to believe the Lions have a real shot to make some noise this season.
The Lions are the betting favorite to win the NFC North, sitting at +140 on FanDuel. They're also -120 to win 10 or more games. With the Green Bay Packers settling in with a new quarterback, the Chicago Bears still a few years away and the Minnesota Vikings somewhat stagnant, now is the time for the Lions to take advantage of its culture shift, improved roster and easy schedule.