The Lions entered the 2022 NFL season with momentum as a team that some thought would take a big step forward in Dan Campbell’s second season in charge of the team.
However, it didn’t look like the Lions were going anywhere after the first seven games of the season. They posted a record of 1-6 to begin the year, and that had some calling for Campbell’s job. Others wrote them off as one of the worst teams in the league even as their offense played at a high level.
Then, just before the midpoint of the season, things changed for the Lions. They got healthy while Aaron Glenn coached up their defense and got them to play at a higher level than they had previously. This allowed the Lions to go on a 7-2 run to close the season, finish with a winning record and nearly make it into the postseason.
Now, the Lions will look to once again improve upon their record after an offseason spending spree that saw them add plenty of talent to their beleaguered secondary. They also had four top-45 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft and were able to add plenty of talent to their roster with those selections.
Considering the wide-open state of the NFC, things are looking up once again for Detroit. But can the Lions take a step forward in 2023, or will they be plagued by another slow start under Campbell’s watch?
Here is a complete breakdown of the Lions’ 2023 schedule, including dates, start times and analysis for all 17 games.
Detroit Lions schedule 2023
The Lions’ schedule with dates, times and networks will be completed when the slate of games will be revealed on Thursday, May 11. Detroit will face the following opponents in 2023:
- Home: Packers, Bears, Vikings, Falcons, Panthers, Broncos, Raiders, Seahawks
- Away: Packers, Bears, Vikings, Chiefs, Chargers, Saints, Buccaneers, Cowboys, Ravens
Detroit will play a second-place schedule after finishing ahead of the last-place Bears and third-place Packers in the NFC North in 2023. The Lions will play their normal divisional schedule as well while also facing every team from the AFC West and NFC South as a part of their yearly rotation.
The Lions will play seven games against teams that made the playoffs in 2022. That includes two games against the Vikings and games against the Chiefs, Chargers, Buccaneers, Cowboys and Ravens.
Lions strength of schedule
The Lions are set to have the eighth-easiest schedule in the NFL for 2023, per Sharp Football Analysis. This analysis is based on the projected win totals for each of Detroit’s opponents for the upcoming season rather than their record in 2022.
Detroit had the 17th-easiest strength of schedule for the 2022 NFL season, so its schedule is expected to be easier in 2023 than it was last season. That is thanks largely to their four games against NFC South opponents, as the Saints are the only team in that division projected to have a winning record.
Toughest tests: The Lions have a handful of tough road games in 2023. They will have to travel to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Chiefs, the Superdome to play the Saints and AT&T Stadium to face the Cowboys. Detroit should be able to compete in each of those contests, but those hostile environments could give them trouble depending on where they fall in the schedule.
Also tough will be a game against the high-flying Chargers offense led by Justin Herbert. That will also be a road game, but SoFi Stadium doesn’t provide much of a home-field advantage for the Chargers, who are often outnumbered by opposing fans when playing in Los Angeles.
Biggest breaks: While Detroit has a tougher-looking road schedule when factoring in its non-divisional games, the Lions will benefit from getting one of the easiest home schedules in the league.
The toughest team they will play at home is the Vikings, who sported one of the league’s worst defenses in 2022 and against who the Lions posted a 1-1 record in two games last season. The Seahawks are the only other team with a winning record that Detroit will face at home, so the Lions have a good chance to be one of the league’s best home teams in 2023.
Bottom line: The Lions were one of the hottest teams in the NFL down the stretch of the 2022 season, and it was no fluke. The team posted a 7-2 record in its final nine games because it has an extremely talented offense and a strong coaching staff that was able to get a lot out of an undermanned defense despite its early season struggles.
In truth, the Lions probably should have been a playoff team in 2022. They were simply unlucky not to make the postseason, as they were bitten by the injury bug early in the season and only failed to make it in as a wild card because of a lost tiebreaker against the Seahawks.
Detroit has spent many resources addressing its copious needs on the defensive side of the ball during the 2023 offseason by adding Cameron Sutton, CJ Gardner-Johnson, Emmanuel Moseley and first-round pick Jack Campbell to the back seven. The Lions also added a couple of playmakers on offense in running back Jahmyr Gibbs and tight end Sam LaPorta who should provide Jared Goff with even more weapons on their already strong offense.
All that’s to say that given their talent level and their relatively favorable schedule, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see the Lions emerge as one of the top teams in a wide-open NFC. After all, Detroit posted a 5-1 divisional record in 2022, and that was with Aaron Rodgers in the division.
If they can post a similar record to that in 2023, that should set them up to win double-digit games with ease. So, don’t be surprised to see them blow past the over on their 9.5 over/under win total.
Record prediction: 12-5