Detroit is coming off a league-high ninth consecutive losing season, with a new attitude and second-year head coach Jim Schwartz leading a young talented team with some wily veterans they will look to make some headway.
The schedule makers didn't do the team any favors, scheduling arguably the two toughest divisions in football, the AFC East and NFC East, including matchups against the St. Louis Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 2010 schedule is the 12th overall toughest with the 2009 cumulative record at 130-126, when all is said and done the Lions will have traveled 9832 miles to and from games for the year.
Detroit's new and improved defense will be challenged on the ground on by Adrian Peterson, Steven Jackson, and Ronnie Brown. The secondary will have to prove themselves from an opposing air attack by Aaron Rogers, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, and Jay Cutler. While the young offense could struggle, for eight of their opponents had defenses ranked in the top 15 last year.
As usual don't expect to see Detroit on Monday or Sunday night, every game except Thanksgiving (CBS/1:00 PM) and week 9 against the New York Jets (CBS/1:00 PM) are on Fox at 1:00 PM.
Gaining some early-season momentum is paramount for a struggling franchise like Detroit. The Lions have a chance to make a statement about climbing out of the basement portion of the league with some early upsets.
Although that could become easier said than done, with three of four opening games on the road against divisional opponents (@ Chicago Bears, @ Minnesota Vikings, @ Green Bay Packers). The first home game is against the Philadelphia Eagles in week two, facing first year starter Kevin Kolb.
Three out of the next four games are at home, playing the St. Louis Rams in Ford Field before traveling to New York to play the Giants in week six. Next is the bye-week, followed by two home games in a row against the Washington Redskins and the New York Jets.
Last season the Lions were the only team that the St. Louis Rams beat; on the flipside, Washington was one of the few teams that fell victim to Detroit (insert evil laugh). It will be nice to watch sophomore quarterbacks battle it out in Mark Sanchez and Matthew Stafford.
In week 10, the monsters of Motown hit the road, with the navigation system set toward Buffalo to play the rebuiling Bills. Next week is another away game, playing for the first time in the new Cowboys Stadium against the high-powered Dallas offense.
Next is the beginning of a three-game home stand which would be good news for most teams unless you're playing the New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, and Green Bay Packers. The Thanksgiving day game against New England, Detroit hasn't won the turkey day game since 2003 with a 22-13 drubbing of the Packers.
The home stretch is followed by two road games in the state of Florida, with week 15 against Tampa Bay and week 16 in South Beach facing the Dolphins. The last game of the season Jim Schwartz and Co. will play the Minnesota Vikings at home.
I'm sure that I'm not the only person on earth who prints out the schedule and chalks up their own predictions for wins and losses. I have them beating Chicago in week one, splitting the series. Dropping three in a row (PHI, @ MIN, and @ GB), then returning the favor to St. Louis in week five.
Losing to the Giants, then the bye-week, coming off the bye I think they surprise Washington. I believe we drop the next game against the Jets, but deliver an old-fashioned beat down on the Buffalo Bills.
In week 11, the Lions will be seeing stars in Dallas, with an encore of losing the entire home stand against the Patriots, Bears, and Packers. The home stand will be a tough couple games, but watch out Tampa Bay because your win number five. I believe season ends with losses against Miami and Minnesota.
If you weren't keeping score that's a 5-11 record, call it what you will, I'd take it. Let's hope we steal a couple games it would be nice to ruin the playoff hopes of some divisional adversaries toward the end of the season. If Brett Farve (yes I worked the silver fox in here somehow) uses to mow his lawn coming back, then maybe split series with the Vikings.
Who knows after all they are the Lions, a team which I had never witnessed win more than seven games. I hope they win more, I believe Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz light-years more than I ever believed in Matt Millen.