Is this finally the season the Lions get a home playoff game? They haven't since 1993, back when they played in the old Pontiac Silverdome, and even that was a loss to Green Bay. The Lions' last playoff win was at home, a 38-6 rout of Dallas in the divisional round following the 1991 season. Unfortunately for Detroit, it's stuck in the same division as Green Bay, so barring an Aaron Rodgers injury I don't see an NFC North title and thus home playoff game this season, either.
Detroit was 7-1 at home last season, 5-3 against the spread and 4-4 "over/under." The Lions' 2015 home schedule ranks as tied for the 11th-hardest in the NFL with an opponents' 2014 winning percentage of .531. That's tied with Chicago for the easiest in the NFC North. The Lions have a very unusual thing this year: two three-game homestands.
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Here's the schedule with very early (opponent) odds.
Sept. 27 -- Broncos (pick'em): Detroit might be facing a must-win game here because it could be 0-2 as the Lions open at San Diego and then visit Minnesota. The Broncos will have extra time to get ready for this one as they are in Kansas City on Thursday in Week 2. This will be Peyton Manning's first game in Detroit since 2004 on Thanksgiving with the Colts. Obviously it will be his last game there as well. It's the first meeting with Denver since 2011 and Broncos' first visit in eight years. Key trend: I'm going to speculate that Detroit will be a small dog here. Lions are 4-6 ATS in past 10 at home as a dog of three points or fewer.
Oct. 11 -- Cardinals (+1.5): Really rough turnaround for the Lions as they are in Seattle on Monday night in Week 4 -- could Detroit actually be 0-4 entering this game? The Cardinals are home to St. Louis in Week 4. Detroit lost in Arizona in Week 11 last year, 14-6. It was the fewest points scored by Detroit all season. It was the first time the team failed to score an offensive touchdown since Matthew Stafford's rookie season in 2009. The Lions reached the red zone just once. Key trend: Lions 6-4 ATS in past 10 at home vs. NFC West.
Oct. 18 -- Bears (+5): Chicago is in Kansas City the week prior. On Thanksgiving last year, the Lions beat the visiting Bears 34-17. Calvin Johnson caught 11 passes for 146 yards with a pair of first-half touchdowns. Stafford went 34 of 45 for 390 yards with the two touchdown passes to Johnson, and Joique Bell ran for two touchdowns. Detroit took command by outscoring Chicago 21-0 in the second quarter after trailing 14-3 entering it. Key trend: Lions 6-4 ATS in past 10 as home favorite in series.
Oct. 25 -- Vikings (+5): Minnesota hosts Kansas City in Week 6 ahead of this one. The Lions beat the visiting Vikings 16-14 in Week 15 last year. Matt Prater's 33-yard field goal with 3:38 remaining was the winner. The Vikings led 14-0 in the second quarter. Stafford threw for only 153 yards with a TD, going 17-for-28. Johnson was held to four catches for 53 yards. Detroit had 233 yards and only 25:17 time of possession. Key trend: Lions are 6-3-1 ATS in past 10 as a home favorite of at least 3 points in series.
Nov. 22 -- Raiders (+8.5): Long break between home games for the Lions as in Week 8 they visit Kansas City, go on their bye and then Week 10 in Green Bay. Oakland comes off a home game against Minnesota. The Lions can't lose this one with two potential playoff teams up next and then two tough road games after that. Oakland hasn't been in Motown since 2003. Key trend: Lions 4-6 ATS in past 10 at home as a favorite of at least 7 points.
Nov. 26 -- Eagles (+2): This Thanksgiving Day game could have wild-card implications for sure. The Eagles come off a home game against Tampa Bay. The Lions have won back-to-back Turkey Day games following a nine-game losing streak. Last meeting between these teams was a 34-20 Eagles home win in December 2013. Stafford was just 10-for-25 for 151 yards. Key trend: Lions 5-5 ATS in past 10 at home vs. NFC East (any line).
Dec. 3 -- Packers (pick'em): This is a Thursday night game. But the Lions don't get a break in a short week for Green Bay because the Pack also play on Thanksgiving, hosting Chicago. In Week 3 last season, the Lions beat the Packers 19-7, probably the best defensive effort of the season for Detroit. Don Carey returned a fumble 40 yards for a touchdown, and the Lions held Green Bay to 223 yards of offense. Stafford threw for 246 yards but two picks. Key trend: Lions are 4-6 ATS in past 10 in series (any line).
Dec. 27 -- 49ers (+1.5): This follows trips to St. Louis and New Orleans for the Lions, who then close at Chicago. The Niners host Cincinnati the week prior. Of course, the Niners signed running back Reggie Bush after the Lions cut him this offseason. First meeting between the teams since 2012 and first visit for San Francisco since 2011. Lions haven't beaten Niners since 1995. Key trend: Lions 6-4 ATS in past 10 at home vs. NFC West.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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