The Detroit Lions haven’t won a division title since way back in 1993 and have never played in a Super Bowl. Can the Motor City Kitties change things this season? Let’s break down the Lions’ 2017 schedule and their NFL futures odds.
The Detroit Lions’ NFC North Division will play against the NFC South and the AFC North this season. The Lions were second in the North in 2016 at 9-7 and thus also play the other two second-place teams in the NFC outside of the South (Giants and Cardinals).
Detroit’s 2017 strength of schedule is ranked as the ninth-easiest in the NFL as the Lions’ opponents had a combined 2016 winning percentage of .469 (119-135-2). A total of four playoff clubs are on the schedule, with division-rival Green Bay twice. The Lions were 8-8 ATS last season, 5-3 ATS at home and 3-5 on the road.
Can you name the four franchises to never play in a Super Bowl? Joining Detroit on that list are AFC clubs Cleveland, Jacksonville and Houston. Yeah, I don’t see things changing for that quartet in 2017. This is a contract year for Lions QB Matthew Stafford, who could become the NFL’s first $25 million per year player. Even if the Lions can’t get a deal done, they would franchise tag him. Over the past two seasons, Stafford has completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 8,589 yards, 56 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He's the franchise's career leader in passing yards (30,303) and touchdown passes (187).
This will be the third straight year the Lions visit New Orleans. The Lions won in the Superdome in both and have and beaten the Saints in three consecutive seasons overall. Of course, the Lions are a dome team. They had three outdoor regular-season games in 2016 and were 0-3, losing in Green Bay, Chicago and at the NY Giants. Detroit will make all three of those trips again, plus outdoor games in Tampa, Baltimore and Cincinnati.
All five non-division home games are against opponents Detroit didn’t play in 2016. The Lions haven’t faced any of those teams, except the Cardinals, since at least 2014. The Lions opened at -3 for Week 1 vs. Arizona. Detroit will look different on the field in one respect as the franchise has altered its uniforms, and they are sharp. Part of redoing the uniforms was to get rid of black from the team's color scheme. The new uniforms reinforce the team’s Honolulu blue and silver color scheme in new home, away, throwback and color rush unis.
Detroit is +2600 on 5Dimes NFL odds to win the conference title and +6600 to win Super Bowl LII.