Way-too-early 2021 Detroit Lions game-by-game predictions: How many wins?

Lions will open season at home against 49ers

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 15: D'Andre Swift #32 of the Detroit Lions attempts to carry the ball against Kendall Fuller #29 of the Washington Football Team during their game at Ford Field on November 15, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 15: D'Andre Swift #32 of the Detroit Lions attempts to carry the ball against Kendall Fuller #29 of the Washington Football Team during their game at Ford Field on November 15, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) (2020 Rey Del Rio)

DETROIT – The Detroit Lions will open the 2021 regular season at Ford Field against the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 12, according to the newly released NFL schedule.

After opening the season at home, the Lions will travel to Green Bay for a primetime Monday Night Football game against the Packers on Sept. 20 (at least it’s in September). The Lions will also finish the season against Green Bay. Week 2 is the only primetime game the Lions have on the docket.

It’s the first 17 game schedule since the league expanded the regular season by one game. That 17th game is in Week 14 against the Denver Broncos.

As for Thanksgiving, the Lions will play the Chicago Bears for the annual turkey day tradition.


Just for fun: Lions 2021 predictions

I know it’s May, and there are still so many unknowns about this Lions roster, with a new coach, GM, quarterback, and new players at essentially every position. They will very likely be bad. But, that won’t stop us from making some way-too-early win/loss predictions!

Week 1 vs. San Francisco: Dan Campbell’s first game as Lions head coach and it’s against a west coast team coming into Detroit. Pretty lucky draw. The 49ers are a bit of a mess themselves, flirting with a QB controversy and losing some big defensive pieces, including their coordinator Robert Saleh. Given all of these factors, and just that it would be a Lions thing to do, I’m giving them a Week 1 win at home. Congrats, coach! (Detroit W)

Week 2 @ Green Bay (MNF): This is a tough one, because we’re not sure what’s happening with Aaron Rodgers. The Lions are lucky they are going to Green Bay in September. With Aaron Rodgers, this is a clear loss. Without? Who knows. Still, I’m handling the Lions a loss here. Sorry, coach. (Detroit L)

Week 3 vs. Baltimore: Lamar Jackson and the Ravens should come into Ford Field and easily hand the Lions a loss. Although, we know Harbaughs have a tough time winning in Michigan. No, no. It’s an L. (Detroit L)

Week 4 @ Chicago: The Bears are not very good, but they are still trying to win -- jobs are on the line. At home against a Lions team lacking in every category, I’ll give Chicago a win here. (Detroit L)

Week 5 @ Minnesota: The Vikings offense should have more than enough firepower to beat the Lions in Minnesota. Lions will probably beat the spread here, but Vikings have the clear edge. (Detroit L)

Week 6 vs. Cincinnati: Alright, the Bengals are eh. Joe Burrow still has plenty to prove. A home game for Detroit, coming off four straight losses, I’m guessing they come out and handle business against this Ohio team. Why? Just because. (Detroit W)

Week 7 @ Los Angeles Rams: Matthew Stafford’s first game against Detroit since the trade, and Jared Goff’s first game against the Rams. Who will have more of a chip here? You’d think Goff. But Stafford is secretly one of the most competitive players in the league. I’d expect Stafford and the Rams to easily take care of the Lions in LA. (Detroit L)

Week 8 vs. Philadelphia: The Eagles are also a bit of a mystery. New coaches, Jalen Hurts in his second year at the helm, lots of young players on defense. Even with that, rookie DeVonta Smith should drop 150 yards on the Lions for passing him in the first round. Eagles with the dub. (Detroit L)

Week 9: Bye Week (Lions 2-6)

Week 10 @ Pittsburgh: Somehow, Ben Roethlisberger is still playing QB for the Steelers. Pittsburgh has the hardest schedule in the league, so I’d expect them to take full advantage of a weary Lions team on their own turf. Steelers should win this. (Detroit L)

Week 11 @ Cleveland: I’m not sure what to expect from Cleveland this year. They still have a lot to prove, at least to me. But, on paper, they should be pretty good again. They’ve added some nice pieces to the defense, too. Browns will run all over Detroit in this. (Detroit L)

Week 12 vs. Chicago (Thanksgiving): It’s Thanksgiving, it’s at home, it’s Chicago, feel the juice, baby! Lions get a win on national TV. (Detroit W)

Week 13 vs. Minnesota: I just can’t see the Lions not getting torn up by the Vikings. I know Kirk Cousins is hit-or-miss, but he’s usually hit against Detroit. Another loss here. (Detroit L)

Week 14 @ Denver: Lions flying into Mile High for the 17-game schedule bonus game. The Broncos aren’t very good, as it stands, but the Lions are worse. Give me Denver at home. (Detroit L)

Week 15 vs. Arizona: Somehow, we always have to play Arizona. I don’t understand why. But this yearly tradition is always a good game. It’ll be close, but I’d pick the Cardinals here. Kyler Murray is getting better and better. (Detroit L)

Week 16 @ Atlanta: The Falcons have a lot of new faces around, but they still have Julio Jones, Matt Ryan -- and now Kyle Pitts. I think Atlanta will be a bit better than people think. Falcons win this in Atlanta. (Detroit L)

Week 17 @ Seattle: Okay, here’s one of those late season games where a good team just totally blows it against a bad team. Lions somehow steal this one in Seattle. (Detroit W)

Week 18 vs. Green Bay: Aaron Rodgers or not, the Lions won’t be trying to win this one. Or maybe they will, just to mess with the draft board. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. (Detroit L)

Final record prediction: 4-13

Take the 2021 Lions Season Poll below:


About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.