DETROIT – The Detroit Lions schedule for 2023 was revealed this week, and for the first time in a long time, they’ve got several high-profile matchups on the national stage.
Football fans across the country won’t just see the Lions on Thanksgiving this year, they’ll also be able to catch them on Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, and even a Saturday night.
The Lions have nine road games and eight home games this season, and the schedule seems to be pretty tough. But they’re going into the season as the favorite to win the NFC North, so there’s a new buzz within the fan base.
Here’s a look at all 17 games on the schedule, ranked from most exciting to most boring.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
It doesn’t get much better than this. The Lions will play the defending Super Bowl champions on national television to kick off the NFL season. This isn’t only the first game for Detroit, it’s the first game for the entire league.
Everyone will be tuning in to see how the Lions stack up against the best the NFL has to offer.
2. Las Vegas Raiders
Will the Raiders be any good? Who knows. They were 6-11 last season after making the playoffs in 2021, and replaced Derek Carr with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback.
But this game will be incredible because Monday Night Football is returning to Detroit. The Lions haven’t hosted a MNF game since the dreadful 2018 season opener against the New York Jets. With the hype surrounding this year’s team, that atmosphere inside Ford Field will be electric.
3. Seattle Seahawks
The anticipation leading up to the first game will be followed by a 10-day wait for the home opener, but once Lions fans get back into Ford Field for the first time, look out.
Not only will this be the first home game of the season -- it also comes against the team that kept Detroit out of the playoffs last season because of a head-to-head tiebreaker. The Lions helped the Seahawks get in over the Green Bay Packers, but now they’ll have a chance to avenge last season’s loss.
4. Green Bay Packers (away)
Lambeau Field is going to be a hostile environment for the Lions in Week 4. Packers fans won’t soon forget that they only needed a win over the Lions in last year’s final game to get into the playoffs, and the Lions, despite having no chance to get in themselves, closed the Aaron Rodgers era with a loss.
This is another Thursday night game, nationally broadcast on Amazon. It could also help set the early tone for the NFC North.
5. Green Bay Packers (home)
Football fans will spend plenty of Thursdays watching Lions-Packers this year, because the rematch in Detroit is scheduled for Thanksgiving Day.
No matter who wins the first meeting in Green Bay, this will be an important game in the division, and Ford Field is always raucous on Thanksgiving. If the Lions are going for a second-straight sweep of the Green and Gold, this could be one of the best moments of the season.
6. Los Angeles Chargers
We see so many of the same teams on the schedule year after year -- it’s fun to see the inter-conference games when the Lions play someone new.
The Chargers are an exciting team with a young star quarterback in Justin Herbert. This will be a great test for the Lions coming off a bye week.
As of now, this is the only 4 p.m. kickoff on Detroit’s schedule, and the only regular-season game on CBS.
7. Dallas Cowboys
A Saturday night game against arguably the most iconic franchise in the NFL? Sign me up.
The Lions will head to Dallas the night before New Year’s Eve in what could very well be a battle between two playoff contenders. Fans will never forget the controversial finish to Detroit’s playoff game against the Cowboys in 2015, so it would be nice to come away with a little revenge.
8. Minnesota Vikings (home)
Everybody is counting out the Vikings, even though they won the NFC North by a full four games last season. If the Lions want to win this division for the first time, they need to take care of business at Ford Field.
The implications for this matchup could be huge. It’s the final game of the season, and kickoff time hasn’t been announced. If the NFC North is on the line, it very well could be in front of a national audience.
This game would have ranked higher on the list, but the Lions and Vikings will play each other twice in three weeks to end the season, so that makes it a little less fun.
9. Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson is back on a mega-deal with the Ravens, and they’ll host the Lions the week before Monday Night Football comes to Detroit.
Baltimore isn’t a flashy team, but it’s one of the most consistent franchises in the NFL, and Jackson is a top-tier quarterback.
On top of that, the Lions will welcome back dynamic wide receiver Jameson Williams following a six-game suspension for violating the league’s gambling policy. By then, fans will be eager to see how he boosts what should already be a strong offense.
10. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers humiliated the Lions on Christmas Eve last season, snapping Detroit’s stretch of six wins in seven weeks and effectively ending any playoff hopes.
They have to come to Detroit this year, though, and Lions fans will get a chance to see No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young under center.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady actually retired this time, and the Buccaneers replaced him with Baker Mayfield, which is not all that exciting, to be honest.
But Tampa Bay has been to the playoffs three years in a row, including a Super Bowl title in 2020. These two teams haven’t met since the Lions got drubbed by 40 points that year.
12. Atlanta Falcons
Bryce Young might be the most exciting rookie coming to Ford Field this year, but Bijan Robinson is a close second.
Detroit could have drafted Robinson, the consensus top running back in the draft, with the No. 6 overall pick. Instead, they traded that pick to the Falcons, who happily scooped him up.
The Lions eventually used the No. 12 pick to take another running back, Jahmyr Gibbs. I’m guessing this head-to-head matchup between the two will be a headline in Detroit.
13. Minnesota Vikings (away)
Even though this should be a matchup between two solid teams, it’s hard to get excited for Lions-Vikings Part 1 when they’ll meet again two weeks later.
If first place in on the line, this could be one of the most important games of the season. But looking at the schedule right now, it just doesn’t do it for me.
14. Denver Broncos
The Russell Wilson era in Denver got off to a disastrous start last season, and the Broncos are a bit boring right now.
Detroit fans should be pretty fired up for this game, because out of five weeks in December, this is the only home game. It’s also listed without a kickoff time, so the NFL might want to feature it, if the stakes are high enough.
15. New Orleans Saints
New Orleans was a pretty boring team last season, finishing 7-10 in the NFL’s worst division.
Typically a franchise that doesn’t go many years without a playoff appearance, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Saints bounce back in 2023. Derek Carr should be an upgrade at quarterback, but does he make this game overly exciting? Not really.
16. Chicago Bears (home)
Maybe the Bears will be better this season, since Justin Fields showed plenty of potential in 2022. But they were the worst team in the NFL a year ago, and the Lions play them twice every season. Not overly exciting.
17. Chicago Bears (away)
For the same reasons listed above, with the added bonus that it’ll be the second meeting between these teams in four weeks.