During July, the Last Word On Sports NFL department will be analyzing the schedules of every team in the NFL and ranking each game in order of difficulty (with one being the most difficult). This series will be split up into the eight most difficult games (ranked 1-8) and the eight easiest games (ranked 9-16) for each team. In this article, the Detroit Lions easiest games are the focus.
Detroit Lions Easiest Games in 2016
9. Week 7 vs Washington Redskins
The 2015 NFC East Champion Washington Redskins haven’t changed much since last season. Week 7 marks the end of a three-game homestand for Detroit, one that could have them on a roll. The Redskins will rely heavily on Kirk Cousins, as his play will determine how Washington will fair in this midseason test.
10. Week 5 vs Philadelphia Eagles
Last year’s matchup was the final straw to break in the Chip Kelly Era for Philadelphia. Rebuilding the franchise has been quite tough, but pieces have been brought together. The game won’t be like last year’s blowout, but it does still lean towards Detroit.
11. Week 1 at Indianapolis Colts
In an uncharacteristic year from Andrew Luck, Indianapolis only won eight games and missed the playoffs. The Colts went on two three-game losing streaks, having trouble with average offenses. Their weakness plays well into the strength of Matthew Stafford: capitalizing on mediocre defenses.
12. Week 6 vs Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are still rebuilding as they begin another era in Los Angeles. And the Rams to the Super Bowl hype-train should begin to lose it’s steam right around week five, priming them for a tough match-up against Detroit.
13. Week 13 at Houston Texans
It’s hard to be blown away by the progress that Houston has made. The 9-7 finish in an Andrew Luck-less AFC South does not warrant a clinched division for 2016. It’s likely that the Texans will be an average football team, wading on the brink of rebuilding their franchise. A cupcake match-up will be expected, but Houston’s defense is good enough to keep them in the game.
14. Week 14 vs Chicago Bears
The Week 14 match-up could be a shaky game for Detroit, with plenty of sleeper potential from Chicago. The likely path is an easy victory for Detroit at home.
15. Week 11 vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Gus Bradley is doing a fine job in Jacksonville with the materials he has. They are loading up on defensive pieces that should blossom into a threat soon, just not in 2016. A point to watch will be how Blake Bortles performs in response to his decent play in 2015.
16. Week 2 vs Tennessee Titans
The Titans should truly lead Detroit to an early win. Tennessee won’t have the resources to block out the pass rush, leading to the collapse of an offense lead by the young Marcus Mariota. This isn’t a cohesive unit defensively. Detroit should walk all over Tennessee at home.
Make sure to also check out our list of the eight hardest games on Detroit’s schedule.