The Detroit Lions have finally learned their 2021 schedule, and as a result, there have been plenty of takes rolling in on what the season could look like for the team.
Detroit is in rebuilding mode and have flipped over the roster as well as the front office and coaching staff in a dramatic way after not meeting expectations for years. That in itself could ensure some short-term pain this season, but will that be the case when the games get going?
The latest Lions news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lions newsletter here!
Join Heavy on Lions!
Here’s a look at some predictions for the 2021 season for every game and the team’s final record when all is said and done.
Lions Week 1: vs. San Francisco 49ers
The last time the Lions started a new tenure by taking on a rookie quarterback, the results were pretty dismal for Matt Patricia against Sam Darnold. This time around, Trey Lance may or may not start, but regardless, the team will be raring to go and get off to a good start against San Francisco. Jared Goff has liked this matchup in the past, and that will play out again in the season opener.
Lions Week 2: at Green Bay Packers (Monday Night Football)
This could be a game where the Lions announce their presence as a viable threat in the NFC North, and it is an intriguing thought to pick them given some of the current upheaval in Green Bay. Still, figuring that Aaron Rodgers patches things up with the Packers, it’s tough to give the Lions this win at night on the road. Detroit loses a close, tough game, which has been par for the course against Green Bay the last few seasons, especially at Lambeau Field.
Lions Week 3: vs. Baltimore Ravens
The Lions have a big challenge going against a tough Ravens offense, but the bigger challenge might be the defense, which remains one of the best in the league even though it can be periodically underrated. This group puts on a show, and the Lions manage to struggle to score most of the day in a loss.
Lions Week 4: at Chicago Bears
This is a big time swing game for the Lions considering what the Bears are doing at quarterback, but somehow, the Lions will find a way to win a big road game against their rivals. It’s a tough spot for the Bears considering Justin Fields will either be learning on the job or the team will be starting Andy Dalton. Whomever the quarterback is, the Lions come up with a good effort.
Lions Week 5: at Minnesota Vikings
The Lions don’t win against the Vikings on the road, and that’s not going to change this season. After a decent start to the year with a few big wins, the Lions are once again blown off the field by the Vikings in what has been a tough run of games against the NFC North rivals. It starts again with this defeat.
Lions Week 6: vs Cincinnati Bengals
If ever there was a game on the 2021 schedule that Lions fans could pencil in as a likely win, this is it. The Bengals struggled protecting Joe Burrow in 2020, and if they struggle to again, it could be another bad year for them. Detroit responds after a tough loss with a big win against a team they should beat if not compete strongly against.
Lions Week 7: at Los Angeles Rams
Revenge against Matthew Stafford for the Lions? Revenge against Sean McVay for Jared Goff? It will be a tough fight, but the Lions don’t have the best shot of going against a good Rams defense and scoring enough. That will be the major difference here in a close loss that will frustrate many given who it is against.
Lions Week 8: vs Philadelphia Eagles
Heading into the bye week, the Lions pick up a big win against an Eagles team that might be worse than they were a year ago and involved in a full rebuild. This is the kind of win that will make the Lions and their fans feel good heading into a tough second-half slate.
Lions Week 10: at Pittsburgh Steelers
This is a big game out of the bye week that could turn Detroit’s season in either direction. A win would be a boost, while a loss could set on a downward spiral. Betting on a loss considering the strength of the Pittsburgh defense and the up and down nature of the Detroit offense.
Lions Week 11: at Cleveland Browns
Cleveland is where the Lions want to be in a few years, so this game will be a good learning experience for Detroit off another AFC North loss. The Lions compete, but do not come up with the win against a solid young offense and defense.
Lions Week 12: vs Chicago Bears (Thanksgiving Day)
Matt Patricia never had the code to winning on Thanksgiving, but Dan Campbell will know the importance of the day to the city and that tips the scales toward Detroit in a close game, no matter who plays quarterback for the Bears. The Lions defend home field for the first time in four years and win on Thanksgiving.
Lions Week 13: vs Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have been a bad matchup for the Lions for the last few years and that continues with this game, where Minnesota comes into Detroit and puts up another huge game against the Lions’ defense. Detroit’s good feelings off Thanksgiving will be short-lived thanks to this defeat.
Lions Week 14: at Denver Broncos
It’s tough to win late in the season in Denver, as the Lions know having lost there in 2019. This chilly game won’t be easy, and the Lions drop a close one to prolong their swoon during a critical second half. It’s a winnable game, but the Lions will struggle to put up points which will be their downfall.
Lions Week 15: vs Arizona Cardinals
The Lions were very lucky to beat the Cardinals last year, but this is a very improved team in the desert and Kyler Murray will have a big game at Detroit’s expense this time around. Another loss for the Lions as the second-half slide continues and playoff hopes become a distant dream.
Lions Week 16: at Atlanta Falcons
Detroit managed to win last year in Atlanta, so why not again? The Falcons figure to be improved, but they will only go as far as the health of their aging stars lets them. Bank on Dan Campbell and Aaron Glenn having the inside track to a win here given their NFC South experience.
Lions Week 17: at Seattle Seahawks
Jared Goff has won in Seattle, but the Lions don’t. This is another struggle given the rowdy road crowd and the atmosphere, and the Lions will drop yet another game on the road to a team that is much better than them in this game. It’s tough duty being tasked with going into Seattle, so the Lions will be happy to get out of town after this loss and move on.
Lions Week 18: vs Green Bay Packers
It might not seem like progress to the masses, but the Lions can hang their hat on a solid finish to the season with an upset win against the Packers. Managing to eek out seven wins with this schedule will be an accomplishment all to itself, and the Lions have made winning at random times a habit. They will push toward 2022 with some solid momentum with this victory.
Lions 2021 Record Prediction
The addition of the extra game doesn’t help the Lions this year, as the team struggles with consistency and ends up with only seven wins on the year. Still, given the toughness of this schedule, cracking that many victories may look to be an accomplishment by the end. This will give Dan Campbell his bedrock for starting his program in the best way possible. The Lions might have a shot at hanging around the playoff discussion most of the year, and will be better than many will give them credit for. Still, they won’t break through and end the playoff drought this year.
READ NEXT: Lions Rookie Superlatives: What to Expect From 2021 Class