Sometimes, things are so insanely true that they seem false.
In the excitement around the NFL’s schedule releases for the upcoming 2023 season — and all the creative, and not so creative, ways that teams reveal their opponents — many fans missed a clear message that the league was trying to send: We believe in the Detroit Lions, and you should too.
Yes, the Detroit Lions will be one of the TV darlings of the NFL this season, which makes no sense at all when you think about it, especially since a team that’s never been to a Super Bowl has more big-time games than a franchise that has six Lombardi Trophies (New England Patriots) and almost as many as one that just barely lost the last one (Philadelphia Eagles.)
Check this out from ESPN:
“In all, the Lions are scheduled for four prime-time games in 2023. Over the past five seasons, the Lions have played in just five prime-time games, the fewest in the NFL. And over the past 10 NFL seasons, the Lions have played the second-fewest prime-time games (16) in the NFL.
If you go back to when the NFL expanded to 32 teams (2002), the Lions’ 23 prime-time games are the fewest in the NFL. Detroit posted a 7-16 record in those games, becoming the only team without double-digit prime-time wins.”
The Lions have four primetime games — not including Thanksgiving
That four primetime games stats don’t even include their Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Green Bay Packers — which is always a ratings win.
If you’re wondering, the Patriots will take on the Dolphins in a Sunday night game in September, and the Steelers and the Chiefs in December in Thursday and Monday night games, respectively. They also get the Broncos in a night game on Christmas Eve.
The Eagles have two big games early, as they’ll face the Vikings and Bucs on Thursday and Monday night in consecutive games. Then they have the Dolphins in a Sunday night game in October. Next is a Super Bowl rematch against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football in November, and a Sunday night game against the Cowboys in December. Philly also gets to play the Giants on Christmas Day.
Funny enough, the Eagles and Patriots will face each other in Week 1 in New England, in what will probably be the main afternoon game for CBS, seeing as though Tom Brady will return to Foxboro to be honored by his old team.
And last, but not least, the Lions will face the Chiefs in the Thursday night season opener. They also have the Packers — in their first matchup, which isn’t on Thanksgiving — on a Thursday night. Their schedule also includes a Monday night game against the Raiders in October and a Saturday night game against the Cowboys in December.
In case you forgot, the Lions finished 9-8 last year, giving them their first winning season since 2017. And ironically enough, the team that the NFL Scheduling Gods showed so much love to has been in the news during the offseason since four of the five players who were suspended by the league for gambling policy violations wear Honolulu Blue. What a way to punish the rule breakers.