The Detroit Lions have their 2022 schedule, and as a result, the team and their fans can begin to ponder some of the most important matchups that will happen on the field in a few months.
Though the Lions aren’t going to be labeled a contender by many this coming season, the team can still take some major steps forward, and the path to doing so could start with a trio of key games in 2022.
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Which games represent the most important for Detroit on this season’s schedule? Here’s a look at the games that will be the most significant on Detroit’s schedule.
Week 1: Lions vs. Eagles
While the 2021 Lions didn’t lose many games in ugly fashion, many might forget that quite possibly the ugliest game they lost last season was to Philadelphia at home. Nick Siriani’s Eagles came to Ford Field and absolutely smashed the Lions by a final score of 44-6. They rushed for 236 yards and 4 touchdowns and manhandled Detroit. It wasn’t a stretch to say a very average team made the Lions look badly overmatched most of the afternoon.
In the home opener, the Lions get a chance to serve some major revenge while also potentially showing why they are a better team in a new year. In the 2021 matchup, Detroit didn’t stop the run and was embarrassed all afternoon. Improvements to the defensive line have come to the Lions this offseason. A coach like Dan Campbell will likely have his team well aware of what transpired not only in last year’s ugly loss to San Fransisco in the home opener, but in the game against Philadelphia as well. This is a great opportunity for the Lions to win the first game against a team that may not be markedly better than them, but certainly looked like it in 2021.
Week 13: Lions vs. Jaguars
The collective eye-rolls through print are easy to feel with this selection, but reality says that a game between the two worst teams of the 2021 season is a very interesting game, if not a significant one for the Lions. Detroit will be coming off a tough Thanksgiving game against Buffalo, and if they lose, the contest against Jacksonville could be a good springboard for a solid finish to the year. The Travon Walker and Aidan Hutchinson storyline will be fun as well, with each player being top picks and representing big decisions for both teams.
Between the Lions and Jaguars, someone’s rebuild is going to feel like it’s a bit more on track after this game. For Detroit, it would be nice if the high hopes landed on their sideline for once, so this is a major game from that standpoint for the team.
Week 5: Lions at Patriots
Ever since 2002, the measuring stick in the league has been New England, and though that has changed more than a bit with the departure of Tom Brady and other key figures through the years, it still rings true for the Lions this season. Detroit has a chance to get off to a hot start in 2022 with a favorable early schedule, but they will face a tough road test in the form of the Patriots in Week 5. If the Lions manage to start strong, this could be a major statement game about where the team is going in 2022, or it could be a game that stems the tide and starts a winning streak into and out of the bye week.
Post-Brady, not many folks on the NFL’s lower-end will circle games with the Patriots as major affairs anymore, but with Bill Belichick still lurking as the greatest coach in NFL history and Foxboro still a tough environment, this will be a significant game for Detroit this season. The Lions have to show they can measure up, and this could be a game that lets everyone know what direction the team is trending for the present and future.