The NFL certainly handed out its fair share of prime-time games in 2022, as 13 teams ended up earning the maximum of five this season. While the NFL was dishing out prime-time games left and right, one team wasn’t even considered for the national spotlight.
The Detroit Lions.
Detroit, which has a nationally televised game on Thanksgiving every year, didn’t make the league’s prime-time slate. Even the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets have a prime-time game (they play each other) — and Jacksonville finished with a worse record than Detroit last year.
The Lions weren’t required to play a “Thursday Night Football” game due to playing a Thursday game on Thanksgiving, meeting the requirement that every team has to play a Thursday game on their schedule. The NFL could have given the Lions two Thursday games if it wanted, placing another game on Amazon Prime Video as part of their “Thursday Night Football” package.
Detroit did have a prime-time game last season, in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers on “Monday Night Football.” The Lions weren’t even selected for those slate of games this year, and they have a better — and more enticing — roster than the year before.
The Lions don’t even have a single 4:25 p.m. ET game on their schedule. Their lone national television matchup is against the Buffalo Bills, one of the best teams in the NFL. Detroit has 15 Sunday 1 p.m. kickoffs, the Thanksgiving kickoff at 12:30 p.m., and the Week 18 matchup against the Green Bay Packers with a date and time that’s to be determined.
Detroit could also have a game flexed down the line, but the NFL clearly didn’t want the Lions on national television much this year. At least the Lions have “Hard Knocks.”