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TWENTYMAN: Breaking down the Lions' 2023 schedule

The NFL has released the 2023 regular season schedule, and the Detroit Lions will begin the year in primetime on the road against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs to kick off the NFL season Sept. 7 on Thursday night. What a way to start the year. Detroit will end the season at home against the defending NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field at a to be determined date and time.

Detroit's schedule initially includes five nationally televised games – Week 1 at Kansas City (Thursday night), Week 4 at Green Bay (Thursday night), Week 8 vs. Las Vegas (Monday night), Week 12 vs. Green Bay (Thanksgiving), Week 17 at Dallas (Saturday night).

The Lions enter the 2023 season with the 13th easiest schedule in the league based on last year's opponent win percentage (.495).

This year's schedule formula breaks down as follows:

  • 6 home & away division games (Chicago, Minnesota & Green Bay)
  • 4 games vs. opponents outside division, same conference (NFC South)
  • 4 games vs. opponents outside division, opposite conference (AFC West)
  • 2 games vs. opponents in same conference based on prior year standings (Seattle & Dallas)
  • 1 game vs. opponent outside conference based on prior year standings (Baltimore)

Here's a complete breakdown of the entire regular-season schedule:

Week 1, Sept. 7, at Kansas City, Thursday, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)

The Lions get the defending Super Bowl champs and the No. 1 offense in the NFL on the road to begin the season. Head coach Dan Campbell will see where his team stands Week 1. Talk about an early test for the Lions' revamped defense too. It's the first time the Lions will play in Kansas City since 2003.

Week 2, Sept. 17, vs. Seattle, Sunday, 1 p.m. (FOX)

Seattle defeated Detroit Week 4 at Ford Field last season (48-45), and that ended up being the difference between Seattle making the playoffs and Detroit being the first team on the outside looking in. The Seahawks are expected to be right in the playoff mix again in 2023, so this is an important early season intraconference matchup. This will be the 16th matchup all-time between the two clubs with Seattle holding a 10-5 advantage and winning the last six straight, including a playoff matchup in Seattle in 2016.

View photos from offseason workouts on Wednesday, May 10, 2023.

Week 3, Sept. 24, vs. Atlanta, Sunday, 1 p.m. (FOX)

These two teams last squared off in 2021 in Atlanta with the Falcons winning on a last-minute interception. Detroit has dominated this series overall, however, owning a 25-14 mark all-time. This could be an interesting early season matchup between the first two running backs taken in this year's NFL Draft in Atlanta's Bijan Robinson and Detroit's Jahmyr Gibbs. Atlanta finished third in the NFL in rushing last season (159.9).

Week 4, Sept. 28, at Green Bay, Thursday, 8:15 p.m. (Prime Video)

For the first time since 2005 the Packers are starting the season with someone other than Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback. The Lions get their first crack at new Packers starter Jordan Love, who will have a few games under his belt before this early division matchup on a national stage. The Lions have an NFC North title and a playoff berth on their mind and there's no better way to get into the playoffs than to win the division. This will be the Lions' first division game of the season.

Week 5, Oct. 8, vs. Carolina, Sunday, 1 p.m. (FOX)

Detroit will no-doubt be looking for a little payback after a bad loss in Carolina Week 16 last season contributed to them not making the playoffs. Detroit will also get their first look at the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, quarterback Bryce Young.

Week 6, Oct. 15, at Tampa Bay, Sunday, 1 p.m. (FOX)

The Lions lead the all-time series against the Buccaneers 31-28, but the Bucs have won the last two against Detroit by double digits. Detroit won the last matchup in Tampa Bay, 24-21, in 2017. It will be interesting to see what a Tom Brady-less Bucs team will look like in 2023.

Week 7, Oct. 22, at Baltimore, Sunday, 1 p.m. (FOX)

The last time these two teams played was two years ago at Ford Field, and the Ravens needed a miracle 36-yard pass completion with 26 seconds left and a record-setting 66-yard Justin Tucker field goal to beat the Lions. Quarterback Lamar Jackson has a new contract and will be looking to get back into MVP form. It's a good midseason test for the Lions' defense facing a Ravens' offense that had the No. 2 rushing unit in the NFL last season (160.0).

Week 8, Oct. 30, vs. Las Vegas, Monday, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)

The Lions have two primetime games on the road through the first seven weeks but get a chance to welcome in ESPN and the Monday Night Football crew to what is expected to be an awesome atmosphere at Ford Field. The Lions last hosted a Monday night game at Ford Field Week 1 of the 2018 season against the Jets.

Week 9, BYE

A bye week right in the middle of the season. It doesn't get much better.

Week 10, Nov. 12, at Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, 4:05 (CBS)

The Lions should be fresh and hopefully pretty healthy as they take their first and only west-coast road trip of the year to face the Chargers. Los Angeles will be vying for a playoff spot in the ultra-competitive AFC and the Lions will have to find a way to slow down quarterback Justin Herbert and the Chargers' offense.

Week 11, Nov. 19, vs. Chicago, Sunday, 1 p.m. (FOX)

Detroit won't face their second NFC North opponent until Week 11, which means five of their last eight games of the season will be division matchups. Let's hope the Lions are playing as good of football as they were the second half of last season during this key stretch. The Lions beat the Bears twice last season.

Week 12, Nov. 23, vs. Green Bay, Thursday (Thanksgiving), 12:30 p.m. (FOX)

Short weeks are tough on players and coaches, but the one benefit here for the Lions is they are coming off a Sunday game against a familiar opponent in Chicago to face another familiar foe in Green Bay on Thanksgiving. It's the second matchup on the season between these two and both in front of nationally televised audiences. The Lions have played the Packers the most on Thanksgiving. The NFC North rivals will face off on Thanksgiving for the 22nd time.

Week 13, Dec. 3, at New Orleans, Sunday, 1 p.m. (FOX)

This should be a much-improved offense in New Orleans with quarterback Derek Carr now under center.

The Saints had the No. 5 total defense in the league a year ago, so Detroit's offense will have a good test here.

Week 14, Dec. 10, at Chicago, Sunday, 1 p.m. (FOX)

The Lions and Bears square off for the second time in a four-game stretch. This is the first real opportunity for winter weather conditions on one of the notoriously slippery surfaces at Soldier Field. Will weather play a factor in this one?

Week 15, TBD, vs. Denver, TBD, (TBD)

Campbell can't say enough good things about what new Broncos head coach Sean Payton has meant to him as a mentor. On the flip side, Payton isn't surprised at all by some of the early success Campbell has had in Detroit.

Who gets bragging rights in this one?

Week 16, Dec. 24, at Minnesota, Sunday, 1 p.m. (FOX)

The first time the Lions see the defending NFC North champs isn't until Week 16. That means they'll play twice in the last three weeks of the season. The two teams split their matchups last season, both winning at home. Minnesota is expected to be right in the thick of the division race so this could be a crucial late-season matchup with huge division title implications.

Week 17, Dec. 30, at Dallas, Saturday, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN/ABC)

The fifth nationally televised contest for the Lions comes in Week 17 against the Cowboys in a game that could have big implications in the NFC playoff picture. The Lions felt they let one slip away losing in Dallas last season and will look to make amends and play good football down the stretch.

Week 18, TBD, vs. Minnesota, TBD (TBD)

Last year the Lions ended the regular season by beating the Packers to keep Green Bay out of the playoffs. Here's hoping the Lions are in the thick of the NFC playoff race and we get a Week 18 preview of how exciting and loud a playoff game at Ford Field would be.

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