The Detroit Lions have known their 2022 schedule for months, but with training camp arriving and the preseason on the horizon, the meat and potatoes of the slate is once again coming into focus.
When the season begins for the Lions, what games will be of particular importance more than others? Some ideas are beginning to surface, and the team has already been warned to guard against any potential letdown one particular week this year.
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Prior to the season, Ben Niewoehner of Yahoo! Sports has taken a look at games where teams could be facing a major letdown. While the Lions could qualify as a team that would count as such for several contenders, the team itself has their own potential trap game in the form of a tilt on December 4 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
As Niewoehner wrote, should Detroit have a decent start in 2022, they might ill-afford a sleepy performance in this contest later in the season.
“Dan Campbell has breathed some sorely-needed life into the Lions, but will they have enough positive moments in the first part of the season to be in for a fight come December? Against Jacksonville – the middle game of a three-week homestand with the Bills and Vikings – Detroit can’t be sloppy,” he wrote.
In 2021, the Lions and Jaguars battled most of the season to see who would be the proud owner of the top draft pick. Jacksonville ended up coming out on top of that battle, and like Detroit, could figure to be significantly improved in 2022 as a result. That might set up to make this a better game than most think right now.
The Lions schedule does prove this game to be a potential pitfall. A NFC North battle against Minnesota and a big Thanksgiving battle against Buffalo figure as bigger games for Detroit, but perhaps no less important than the Jaguars game in the grand scheme. If the Lions can take care of business, perhaps it will be a good springboard for a late-season push.
Late Season Schedule Could Help Lions Push
During a lost 2021 year, much was made about how strong the Lions finished against tough competition. This coming year, providing Detroit doesn’t struggle early, there is a chance the Lions could use a post-Thanksgiving push to get themselves into playoff contention. From Week 13-17, the Lions will play teams that on paper, they should have a good chance at beating prior to finishing at Lambeau Field. Over that stretch, their toughest games could well be against either Minnesota Vikings at home or the New York Jets on the road. That sets Detroit up for either an epic fail to finish a lost season of tanking, or a legendary push to write a new playoff story.
Right now before the season, this finish is looking as if it could be mighty favorable for the Lions and play a determining factor in how the 2022 season plays out. The game against Jacksonville figures to be a big part of this stretch for the Lions, which is another reason the team won’t want to let their guard down.
Lions Recent History Against Jacksonville Promising
If there’s one element that could help the Lions in this game, it’s the fact that the team hasn’t exactly had letdowns against Jacksonville lately. All-time, Detroit is 4-3 against the Jaguars, and is on a current three game winning streak in the series head-to-head. The Lions have won all kinds of contests against the Jaguars, from blowouts to closer games. In 2020, they blasted Jacksonville on the road 34-16 with a big day.
Detroit’s last loss to the Jaguars came in their winless 2008 season, so the team has some positive history head-to-head to rely on lately. That’s the good news for the Lions as they set their sights on making sure they can take care of business again this year.
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