Skip to main content

TWENTYMAN: Breaking down the Lions' 2018 schedule

The NFL has released the 2018 regular season schedule, and the Lions will begin the Matt Patricia era at home on Monday Night Football vs. the New York Jets.

Detroit's schedule includes three nationally televised games, all at home -- One on Monday Night Football (Jets, Week 1), one on Sunday Night Football (Patriots, Week 3), and one for their annual Thanksgiving Day Game (Bears, Week 12).

Here's a breakdown of the entire schedule:

**Week 1, Sept. 10, vs. New York Jets, 7:10 p.m., ESPN (Monday Night Football)


Patricia begins his head coaching career on the national stage against a familiar opponent from his AFC East days. It will be the first Monday night game hosted by the Lions since the opener in 2014 vs. the Giants.

The Lions have been on the road the last five times they've played on Monday night. The Jets own the No. 3 overall pick in next week's NFL Draft, and are expected to draft a quarterback. Could the Lions open up their season against a rookie quarterback? 

Week 2, Sept. 16, at San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 p.m., FOX

The 49ers were one of the hottest teams in the NFL the second half of the season last year after trading for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. He won all five of his starts to end the season, and San Francisco finished the year 6-10 after a 1-10 start. These two teams last met in 2015 with the Lions winning 32-17 in Detroit.

Week 3, Sept. 23, vs. New England Patriots, 8:20 p.m., NBC (Sunday Night Football)

Patricia gets to face his old team and mentor in Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on a national stage for Sunday Night Football. The Patriots won the AFC last season. It will be Detroit's first game of the season against a playoff opponent from last year. This is an early season benchmark contest for the Lions.

Week 4, Sept. 30, at Dallas Cowboys, 1 p.m., FO

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Co. will host the Lions to end the first quarter of the season. The Cowboys have won the last two matchups between these two teams in Dallas, including the playoff win in 2014. This wraps up a pretty consistent first quarter schedule for the Lions with two home contests and two on the road to start the season.

Week 5, Oct. 7, vs. Green Bay Packers, 1 p.m., FOX

The Lions swept the season series from Green Bay last year, but both contests were played without Packers MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers after he suffered a broken collarbone early in the year. Rodgers has a new weapon in tight end Jimmy Graham, and the Packers will no-doubt be looking for a little payback from their division rivals. 

Week 6, Bye

Players typically like the bye week to come around the midway point of the season. Week 6 isn't a bad spot for Detroit, especially if they're dealing with any early-season injuries. 

**Week 7, Oct. 21, at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m., FOX


It was a down year for the Dolphins in 2017 (6-10) after they made the playoffs in 2016 for the first time since 2008. The team was affected by the loss of starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who tore his ACL and missed the entire season. With Tannehill back, the Dolphins are hoping to regain their 2016 playoff form. The Lions have won their last two contests vs. Miami.

Week 8, Oct. 28, vs. Seattle Seahawks, 1 p.m., FOX

The Seahawks went through a ton of change this offseason. Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson and Jimmy Graham are gone. Quarterback Russell Wilson remains, however, and he's one of the best in the NFL. Seattle has won five of the last six games vs. the Lions, but Detroit did win the last matchup at Ford Field back in 2012. 

Week 9, Nov. 4, at Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m., FOX

Detroit gets its first crack at the defending division champs and their new quarterback Kirk Cousins Week 9. The Lions were the only team in the NFL last season to beat Minnesota at US Bank Stadium, a 14-7 victory Week 4. Detroit also won there in 2016. Can they make it three in a row at US Bank?

Week 10, Nov. 11, at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m., FOX

The second half of the season kicks off against this NFC North foe. The Lions won nine of their last 10 games vs. the Bears, with the one defeat coming at Chicago early in the 2016 season. The Bears, like the Lions, have a new head coach (Matt Nagy) who will be looking to make an impact in the division. 

Week 11, Nov. 18, vs. Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m., FOX

Two years in a row the Lions host the Panthers at Ford Field. Cam Newton and the Panthers got the better of the Lions last season with a 27-21 victory Week 5. The Panthers were an 11-5 football team a year ago, and qualified for the playoffs.

One little side note about this contest: It's nice the Lions play at home the Sunday before their Thanksgiving Day game just four days later. Last year they were on the road (Chicago).

Week 12, Nov. 22, vs. Chicago Bears, 12:30 p.m., CBS (Thanksgiving)

Lions team president Rod Wood said earlier this offseason he was hoping for a division opponent on Thanksgiving. Wood gets his wish as the Lions host the Bears for their annual Thanksgiving Day game. It's the second time the Bears and Lions play over a three-week stretch.

Week 13, Dec. 2, vs. Los Angeles Rams, 1 p.m., FOX

The Rams were very aggressive this offseason trying to revamp their roster. The additions of Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters and Ndamukong Suh give the Rams' defense three All-Pro caliber guys to play alongside defending defensive player of the year Aaron Donald. Suh gets a chance to play against the team that drafted him No. 2 overall back in 2010 for the first time since he left Detroit following the 2014 season.

Week 14, Dec. 9, at Arizona Cardinals, 4:25 p.m., FOX

The Lions got off to a good start last season with a 35-23 win over the Cardinals in the season opener at Ford Field. The Cardinals lost Pro Bowl running back David Johnson to a dislocated wrist in this game, and finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the second straight season. The Lions haven't won in Arizona since 1993.

Week 15, Dec. 16, at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m., FOX

This is the first real opportunity for a cold weather contest. Buffalo in December can be a crapshoot. The Bills finished 2017 with the same record as the Lions (9-7), but that was good enough to get them into the playoffs in the AFC, while the Lions were the odd man out of the postseason in the NFC. 

Week 16, Dec. 23, vs. Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m., FOX 

The Lions end the season with two division games that will likely have a lot to say about the NFC North standings and the NFC playoff picture. The final home game of the regular season is against the defending division champs.

Week 17, Dec. 30, at Green Bay Packers, 1 p.m., FOX

Make it four of the last five years the Lions will finish the regular season with the Packers. This ends a tough last quarter for the Lions that has them playing three of their last four on the road. The Lions will certainly need to be an indoor team with an outdoor mentality ending the year in the frozen tundra.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content