Center Frank Ragnow welcomes the timing of the Detroit Lions' bye week for the chance he and his teammates have to heal from some injuries, and also for a fresh start on what has been a disappointing beginning to the 2022 season.
The Lions' 1-4 start, capped by a 29-0 loss to the Patriots in the final game before their bye break, left some mental bruises that need healing, too.
"Personally, the bye week is good timing," said Ragnow, who has been dealing with a foot injury that caused him to miss one game. "It gives me a true whole week to relax. And for the team's sake, there's a bunch of injuries. The timing is good.
"It's a long season, man. I know things might seem gloom now, but it's important that we as realize that we can't get down in the dumps."
It might seem like a long reach for the Lions to accomplish their goals, but Ragnow and his teammates have not given up on making something of this season.
"Everything is in front of us," Ragnow said. "You have to get hot at the right time. We've done a lot of good things. If we can put that all together, everything's in front of us."
This week's Monday Countdown looks at what's in front of the Lions – the remaining 12 games on their schedule.
There is a look at how the Lions match up with all 12 teams - from the Cowboys in Week 7 in their first game back from the bye to the Packers in Week 18.
There's also a look at the Lions' win formula for each game, and how each of the remaining opponents ranks from 1-12.
Week 7 at Cowboys
How 'bout them Cowboys? They've stayed in contention with solid play from backup QB Cooper Rush and a disruptive defense led by LB Micah Parsons. The Cowboys are exceeding expectations.
Final 12 rank: 3rd
Lions' win formula: Play to their own strength. Dominate with an offensive line that wins battles up front and skill position players who win matchups. The defense has to at least play close to average.
Week 8 vs. Dolphins
It shouldn't be forgotten that before Tua Tagovailoa's concussion and the controversy surrounding it, the Dolphins started the season with three quality wins over the Patriots, Ravens and Bills. Backup QB Teddy Bridgewater was 5-0 as a starter for the Saints in 2019. He's been a solid leader since entering the NFL in 2014.
Final 12 rank: 5th
Lions' win formula: Keep big-play receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle in check, and win the battle of the running games. And take advantage of home-field advantage. The Lions could not ask for better fan support than they've gotten so far.
Week 9 vs. Packers
When last we checked, Aaron Rodgers was giving us regular updates on the development – or lack of it – of his young receivers and hinting about possible retirement. In other words, not much has changed. The Packers are good, but not as good as last season.
Final 12 rank: 8th
Lions' win formula: Don't let Rashan Gary add to his pile of sacks, and shut down the Packers' run game. The Lions can win the battle of the passing game.
Week 10 at Bears
They're protecting and developing second-year QB Justin Fields with an ultra-conservative offense. The Bears have a strong running trio of Khalil Herbert, David Montgomery and Fields. The passing game, not so much.
Final 12 rank: 10th
Lions' win formula: Get the lead and force the Bears to play from behind. That lessens the effect of their running game.
Week 11 at Giants
An early surprise team under new head coach Brian Daboll, the Giants were 4-1 after five games. They won four games all of last season. Opponents have to deal with a potent running game led by Saquon Barkley and QB Daniel Jones, and a decent pass rush.
Final 12 rank: 4th
Lions' win formula: Stop the run, force Jones to play from the pocket and create turnovers. Jones is prone to commit them.
Week 12 vs. Bills (Thanksgiving)
The Bills entered the season with one goal: Make it to the Super Bowl. QB Josh Allen can shred a defense with his arm and legs. He has a premier deep threat in Stefon Diggs. Signing Von Miller added an elite pass rusher who helped the Rams to the Super Bowl last season. The Bills are hoping he does the same for them.
Final 12 rank: 1st
Lions' win Formula: Feed off the Thanksgiving Day tradition atmosphere. Hopefully, some injured players are ready to compete now. Use them, especially on defense. And speaking of hope -- unveil rookie WR Jameson Williams if he's ready. That would be a nice treat for the fans – and Jared Goff.
View photos from the Sewell Strong Foundation's Luau event at Ford Field.
Week 13 vs. Jaguars
Doug Pederson, who won a Super Bowl as head coach of the 2017 Eagles, has brought order to the Jaguars and potency to the offense. Second-year QB Trevor Lawrence looks like a pro after a rocky rookie season. Josh Allen is playing to his 2019 rookie level of 10 sacks.
Final 12 rank: 7th
Lions' win formula: This is pure projection, but the Lions should have some of their issues – namely the defense – ironed out by now. If that's the case, play complementary football --- defense gets stops, offense scores points, Lions win.
Week 14 vs. Vikings
Their offense can do damage, as the Lions saw in their first meeting in Week 3. Justin Jefferson is an elite receiver, and the Vikings get production from running backs Dalvin Cook – when healthy – and Alexander Mattison. The defense needs a big finish to top last season's total of 51 sacks.
Final 12 rank: 6th
Lions' win formula: Cut down penalties and breakdowns on defense that cost them the game in their first meeting Week 3. Force Kirk Cousins out of the pocket, where he performs best.
Week 15 at Jets
They Jets got QB Zach Wilson, who they drafted second overall last season, back after missing three of the first four games with an injury. The Jets have had one winning season in the last 11 years, but could be on their way to another with four wins early in 2023.
Final 12 rank: 9th
Lions' win formula: The Jets are really a team without an identity for a style of play. They might build one under Wilson. If the Lions play good, solid football, the results will take care of themselves.
Week 16 at Panthers
The Panthers are in turmoil with no relief. They fired head coach Matt Rhule after Week 5. He has four years left on his contract.
Final 12 rank: 12th
Lions' win formula: Jump on the Panthers early and don't let up. If you're in contention, show no mercy.
Week 17 vs. Bears
The one thing that could benefit Fields is the experience he gains from starting. This matchup should favor the Lions, no matter the circumstances.
Final 12 rank: 11th
Lions' win formula: The same as the first meeting. Get a lead and add to it.
Week 18 at Packers
A dream finale matchup would be if this game means something for both teams. They played final-game showdowns for the NFC North title in 2014 at Lambeau Field and 2016 at Ford Field. The Packers won both, but both teams qualified for the playoffs.
A third time would be a charm.
Final 12 rank: 2nd
Lions' win formula: Score early and score often. A team has to set the tempo to beat the Packers at Lambeau. The Lions are best suited to do that with their offense. The Packers aren't as dominant at Lambeau as in years past.