2014 Detroit Lions Opponents and Schedule Highlights
by Aaron Smith - 4/9/2014
Detroit was one of the biggest disappointments in the 2013 NFL season. After five years with the team, Jim Schwartz was fired at the end of last year. Schwartz did lead the team to the playoffs in 2010, but the past two seasons have been big disappointments. The Lions have turned to Jim Caldwell to take over as coach.
Detroit has a nice talent base to work with. It seems like the Lions have had trouble finishing out games far too often in recent years. Maybe a change in leadership will help develop a culture of winning. Let's take a look at who the Lions will meet during the 2014 season. The NFL will release schedule dates and games times later in April, but we do know who the Lions will have to play. We'll start with the team's eight road games and finish with their eight home games.
2014 Detroit Lions Opponents: Road Schedule
At Chicago: The Lions didn't have a good season in 2014, but they did manage to beat the Chicago Bears both times they played. The Lions win at Soldier Field was arguably their best win of the season. Detroit's defense rose up and made big stops to help them win this matchup last season.
At Green Bay: Detroit's epic losing streak at Green Bay has received lots of fanfare. The fact that the Lions haven't won at Lambeau Field since 1991 when Barry Sanders was their starting running back speaks volumes to how bad of a period this has been for Lions fans. I know the Packers are very good, but 23 straight losses is ridiculous!
At Minnesota: Detroit lost 14-13 at Minnesota last year. The Lions had to settle for two field goals in that game, and that ended up being the difference. The Vikings ran for 174 yards in that contest versus the Lions 63 rushing yards. This was one of those games were the Lions lack of balance really hurt them.
At Atlanta: Having to face the Atlanta Falcons on the road isn't a good draw. Matt Ryan and the Falcons haven't been great on the road, but at home this team is really difficult to beat. Atlanta is 28-18 against the spread at home when Ryan is under center as their starting quarterback.
At Carolina: Carolina is 6-2-1 ATS in the last two seasons in home games where they are the favorite. They'll be favored in this one. Carolina is a rising team in the NFL, and this defense is scary good. This one will be very tough for the Lions.
At New England: New England has been a top-notch team for quite a while. The Patriots are 55-44-2 ATS in their last 101 games as a home favorite. During that same 10-year span, the Lions are 31-35-2 ATS as a road underdog. Here is another game that the Lions will have the odds against them in.
At New York Jets: They are hot and then they are cold. No I'm not talking about Katy Perry's hit single from a few years ago, I'm talking about the New York Jets. Rex Ryan's Jets have looked great one week and like one of the worst teams in the league the next over the past couple seasons. This team is about as unpredictable as they come.
At Arizona: Arizona was one of the most improved teams in the NFL last season. The Cardinals have a young defense that is quickly becoming one of the best in the league. If Carson Palmer can limit his mistakes, this team will be dangerous in 2014.
2014 Detroit Lions Opponents: Home Schedule
Chicago: Detroit is just 6-10 ATS at home in the last two seasons, but they are also 6-10 ATS on the road, so it doesn't matter much either way for the Lions. If Detroit is going to contend for a playoff spot in 2014, this is the type of game that they absolutely must win.
Green Bay: Detroit blasted Green Bay 40-10 on Thanksgiving Day last year. It is important to note that Aaron Rodgers didn't play in that game, and clearly that makes a huge difference for the Packers. Rodgers has started 11 games against the Lions, and the Packers have scored at least 22 points in all but one of those games.
Minnesota: Minnesota's defense has had a lot of trouble slowing down Detroit at Ford Field in recent years. The Vikings defense should improve a lot with Mike Zimmer at the helm, but it might take some time to see the results.
New Orleans: The Saints are a very good team, but they aren't great away from the Superdome. New Orleans is 26-33-1 ATS on the road since the start of the 2007 season. Drew Brees and the high-octane Saints are liable to feel at home inside at Ford Field, though, since it is a very similar venue as the Superdome.
Tampa Bay: Tampa Bay is in a state of flux right now. Greg Schiano didn't do the team any favors, and the Bucs offense is a mess. Tampa Bay has some nice talent on the defensive side of the ball, but they'll struggle to win games again this year.
Buffalo: Buffalo is dead last in covering on the road since the start of the 2010 season. The Bills are 12-19-1 ATS in their last 32 road games. This team looked like a contender at times last year, but their inconsistency was maddening for both fans and bettors.
Miami: The underdog is 51-22 in the Miami Dolphins last 73 games overall. That tells me the Dolphins are another team that is hard to figure out. Miami has had tons of team chemistry issues. If they can put those to bed, there is the talent to have a quality team. Can they do it?
New York Giants: New York has been up and down in recent years. Last season's failures were largely due to the fact that the Giants had absolutely no running game. I expect the Giants to be better this year, and this could be a tricky game for the Lions. Eli Manning is 30-18 ATS in his last 48 games as an underdog.
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