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2021 Detroit Lions Schedule: Full Listing of Dates, Times and TV Info

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2021

Detroit Lions running back D'Andre Swift (32) carries the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Duane Burleson/Associated Press

A new era for the Detroit Lions will try to yield different results after four straight years without a playoff berth.

Dan Campbell has taken over at head coach after three disappointing seasons under Matt Patricia, and he will bring an intense personality to get the most out of his players.

There is also a notable change at quarterback after 12 years with Matthew Stafford under center. Jared Goff is looking to turn things around after coming over in a trade from the Los Angeles Rams, giving the squad a fresh start at the position.

There will be high expectations around running back D'Andre Swift after he displayed plenty of upside as a rookie last season. 

It could be enough to compete for a postseason spot if the team can navigate the upcoming schedule, courtesy of the Lions official Twitter account.        

     

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Analysis

Leon Halip/Associated Press

While much of the focus this offseason was on an offense that lost Stafford, Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones, the defense is a greater concern after finishing dead last in the NFL in both points and yards allowed.

Keeping Romeo Okwara was a good move, but there were few notable additions in free agency to make this unit stronger in 2021.

That could be an issue in games against explosive offenses belonging to teams like the Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens, Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. These teams can pick up yards through the air or on the ground, and the Lions will have a difficult time stopping any of them.

Detroit will need young players such as Jeffrey Okudah and Jahlani Tavai to take major leaps this offseason to keep the squad in games, while rookies Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeill could have big roles early.

With strong defensive squads like the Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers also on the schedule, there will be few opportunities for easy wins throughout the year.

       

Pivotal Matchups

Scott Eklund/Associated Press

Divisional battles always get attention, but the biggest highlight on the schedule is on Oct. 24 when the Lions travel to face the Rams.

The two teams were part of one of the most notable moves of the offseason with L.A. getting Stafford in exchange for Goff, a 2021 third-round pick and two future first-round picks.

Goff will hope to show Los Angeles it made a mistake by giving up on him too soon. Despite criticism in recent years, he has been selected to two Pro Bowls and is averaging 4,271 passing yards and 26 passing touchdowns over the past four years.

If the 26-year-old plays to his potential, he could be a difference-maker in Detroit.

The strengthened offensive line will certainly help with Penei Sewell likely immediately entering the starting lineup.

Another important pair of matchups will come against the Minnesota Vikings, which have won seven straight games against the Lions dating back to 2017.

The Vikings haven't been world-beaters in this stretch, but Detroit has been unable to solve them. Finding success against these divisional rivals will go a long way toward the Lions getting back on track overall.

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