Detroit Lions 2021 schedule: Predicting every game, opponent win totals, record projection


A rebuilding season for the Detroit Lions is an understatement, even if there are plenty of signs this attempt to turn the franchise into a winner is going to stick. Detroit has built one of the best offensive lines in football, a sign head coach Dan Campbell is getting his team to embrace his philosophy of toughness. The Lions are going to be a tough out regardless of the talent level on this team.

Detroit has two years to find out what it has in Jared Goff, who is looking to revitalize his career after the Lions acquired him in exchange for Matthew Stafford and two first-round picks. Goff won’t have the ideal cast to throw to at wide receiver, but the Lions will have hungry veterans in Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman looking to rebuild their careers — a recurring theme for a hungry crowd in Detroit. Amon-Ra St. Brown also is an intriguing draft pick that should get an opportunity in his rookie season. The Lions also have one of the best tight ends in the game In T.J. Hockenson and an intriguing running back duo in D’Andre Swift and Tyrell Williams. 

The defense added Michael Brockers and Jamie Collins, two veterans looking to improve the league’s worst defense (in points and yards) last year. Detroit also allowed the most passing and rushing touchdowns in 2020, a tough task for new defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn — who is going to take risks with the secondary (similar to his style in New Orleans). 

Detroit will be an intriguing watch in 2021 in year one of the Campbell era. The road will be bumpy at times, but the Lions are trying to establish a culture. The future — for the first time in years — appears bright in Detroit. We’ll do a game-by-game prediction of the 2021 schedule and see if this team improves as the season evolves. 

(Over/Under win totals for every opponent courtesy of William Hill Sportsbook)

Need a quick betting primer on your favorite NFL team for the 2021 season? Here are links to schedule breakdowns for all 32 clubs.

Week 1 vs. San Francisco 49ers

Line: Lions +7.5
Opponent win total: O/U 10

The 49ers are a division contender and look to put their stamp on any opponent in Week 1 — it just happens to be the Lions. Detroit’s offensive line will be tested against San Francisco’s fearsome pass rush, a good challenge for the young group. 

Prediction: Lions lose
Projected record: 0-1

Week 2 at Green Bay Packers

Opponent win total: N/A

Whether Aaron Rodgers is on the Packers or not, this will be a tough test for Detroit. The Lions haven’t beaten Green Bay in two years and Davante Adams will give this young secondary all it can handle. Detroit’s pass rush is going to have to have a big day for any chance at an upset. 

Prediction: Lions lose
Projected record: 0-2

Week 3 vs. Baltimore Ravens 

Opponent win total: O/U 11

Could the Lions draw a worse opening stretch to start the season? Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ explosive offense come to town against one of the NFL‘s worst defenses. This could get ugly fast. 

Prediction: Lions lose
Projected record: 0-3

Week 4 at Chicago Bears

Opponent win total: O/U 7.5

Detroit always seems to give Chicago trouble, no matter how good or bad the Bears are. This matchup all depends whom starts at quarterback for the Bears (best guess is Justin Fields), but Chicago’s defense will give Goff fits throughout the afternoon. The Lions won’t score enough to keep up. 

Prediction: Lions lose
Projected record: 0-4

Week 5 at Minnesota Vikings

Opponent win total: O/U 8.5

Another tough matchup for the Lions here, as Kirk Cousins and Co. are expected to give the defense fits. This will be a game the Lions can score points and this will be a shootout. The Lions are close to breaking into the win column. 

Prediction: Lions lose
Projected record: 0-5

Week 6 vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Opponent win total: O/U 6.5

Detroit’s defense has a breakthrough performance against Cincinnati’s high-powered offense. The Bengals’ offensive line won’t be enough to protect Joe Burrow and Dan Campbell gets his first victory as the Lions head coach. 

Prediction: Lions win
Projected record: 1-5

Week 7 at Los Angeles Rams

Opponent win total: O/U 10.5

The Matthew Stafford vs. Goff showdown will be the storyline leading up to the game, but the matchup itself is very one-sided. This will be a tough one for Goff and the Lions. 

Prediction: Lions lose
Projected record: 1-6

Week 8 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Opponent win total: O/U 7.0

The Lions will need to establish a ground game against the Eagles’ front four to have a shot at this one. This game will be close, but Jalen Hurts will do enough against Detroit’s defense to pull off the win for Philadelphia. 

Prediction: Lions lose
Projected record: 1-7

Week 10 at Pittsburgh Steelers

Opponent win total: O/U 9.0

Doesn’t get any easier for Detroit coming off its bye week, facing Pittsburgh’s aggressive defense in the first of back-to-back matchups against the AFC North. Going to be a tough day for the Lions offense. 

Prediction: Lions lose
Projected record: 1-8 

Week 11 at Cleveland Browns 

Opponent win total: O/U 10.0

Another tough game on the road against an AFC North opponent. The schedule-makers did the Lions no favors against an offense that should give Detroit’s defense fits all day long. Detroit will have to stop Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to have a chance. 

Prediction: Lions lose
Projected record: 1-9

Week 12 vs. Chicago Bears

Opponent win total: O/U 7.5

Thanksgiving games always have a special meaning for the Lions, who typically play well on the holiday. The Lions play the Bears tough on Thanksgiving in recent years, as Goff shines back on the nationally televised stage. Huge upset for Detroit against a division rival. 

Prediction: Lions win 
Projected record: 2-9

Week 13 vs. Minnesota Vikings

Opponent win total: O/U 8.5

Ten days off to face the Vikings should help Detroit here, as the Lions are flying high from the upset win over the Bears. Swift has a big game against a tired Vikings run defense.

Prediction: Lions win
Projected record: 3-9 

Week 14 at Denver Broncos

Opponent win total: N/A

This game depends on whom is the Broncos quarterback (maybe Aaron Rodgers is in Denver). The Broncos still present a problem for the Lions’ secondary with all the wide receivers they have. Detroit puts up a good fight in this one. 

Prediction: Lions lose
Projected record: 3-10

Week 15 vs. Arizona Cardinals

Opponent win total: O/U 8.0

The Cardinals have an explosive offense and will be fighting for a division title — so they’ll be avoiding a letdown in Detroit. This will be a tough loss for the Lions in another hard-fought contest — a fixture under Campbell in the second half of the year. 

Prediction: Lions lose
Projected record: 3-11

Week 16 at Atlanta Falcons

Opponent win total: O/U 7.5

Whether Atlanta has Julio Jones or not, Kyle Pitts will present a matchup nightmare for the Lions. Detroit gets into a shootout in this one, a game the Lions pull off another major upset as Goff leads a late comeback. For the first time in a long time, things are looking up in Detroit. 

Prediction: Lions win
Projected record: 4-11

Week 17 at Seattle Seahawks 

Opponent win total: O/U 10.0

After an upset in Atlanta, the Lions have a tough task against a Seattle team fighting for its playoff lives. Detroit gives Seattle a good fight, but the lack of depth on the defense allows Russell Wilson to work his magic late in this one. 

Prediction: Lions lose
Projected record: 4-12

Week 18 vs. Green Bay Packers

Opponent win total: N/A

This game means nothing but pride for the Lions, but the Packers will have something to play for if Rodgers is still on the roster. This game is a toss-up and a top five draft pick awaits Detroit. 

Prediction: Lions lose
Projected record: 4-13





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