2023 Lions schedule features 5 nationally televised games

Season starts at Chiefs, the defending Super Bowl champs

Amazing what winning will do to give an NFL team a schedule with five nationally televised games.

After winning eight of their last 10 games last season and barely missing the playoffs, the NFL has taken notice of the Detroit Lions. After one nationally televised game in 2022 (on Thanksgiving), the Lions will have at least five in 2023 starting with the opener at the Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 7.

While the NFL had several other solid potential matchups for the Chiefs’ opener, they chose the Lions.

“We really like that narrative around that team, the culture they’re building there, the way they finished that season 8 wins out of their last 9 or 10 games. The last time we saw them on national television was the last game, Game 272 of the regular season, and they were beating the Packers in Lambeau to keep Aaron Rodgers  out of the playoffs,’’ NFL vice president of broadcast Onnie Bose told the Dan Patrick Show on Thursday. 

“We really like that there’s a lot of energy there and we feel really good about starting the season with that energy against the Super Bowl champs,’’ Bose added.

The last time the Lions played at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium was on Dec. 14, 2003. The Chiefs won 45-17.

The Lions will play in one Monday night game at home to the Las Vegas Raiders on Oct. 30. They’ll travel to Dallas for a Saturday night game on Dec. 30.

Detroit will head to Green Bay for a Thursday night game on Sept. 28. And then they will welcome the Packers to Ford Field for Thanksgiving. The Lions were 2-0 against the Packers last season including the season-ending win that kept the Packers out of the playoffs.

The Lions enter the season as favorites in the NFC North after a 5-1 mark in the division in 2022.

Times and dates for two home games against Denver in Week 15 and the Vikings in Week 18 have not been determined.

Detroit Lions 2023 schedule:

— Week 1: Thursday, Sept. 7 at Kansas City Chiefs, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)

—  Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 17 vs. Seattle Seahawks, 1 p.m. (FOX)

— Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 24 vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m. (FOX)

— Week 4: Thursday, Sept. 28 at Green Bay Packers, 8:15 p.m. (Amazon Prime)

— Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 8 vs. Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m. (FOX)

— Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 15 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m. (FOX)

— Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 22 at Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m. (FOX)

— Week 8: Monday, Oct. 30 vs. Las Vegas Raiders, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)

— Week 9: BYE WEEK

— Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 12 at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. (CBS)

— Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 19 vs. Chicago Bears, 1 p.m. (FOX)

— Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 23 vs. Green Bay Packers, 12:30 p.m. (FOX)

— Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 3 at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m. (FOX)

— Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 10 at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m. (FOX)

— Week 15: TBD, vs. Denver Broncos, TBD (TBD)

— Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 24 at Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m. (FOX)

— Week 17: Saturday, Dec. 30 at Dallas Cowboys, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)

— Week 18: TBD, vs. Minnesota Vikings, TBD (TBD)


Lions Dan Campbell says Jared Goff one of biggest reasons for turnaround

ALLEN PARK — Dan Campbell offered a perfect example on Monday of why Jared Goff is the right quarterback at the right time for the Detroit Lions.

Prior to Sunday night’s prime time game at Green Bay, Campbell said he was trying to set the mood with the team, light the fire so to speak.

“Your guys should be riled up and you’re just dousing them with gasoline. Then I’m kind of pulling Goff and saying, ‘Make sure you keep these guys calm,’’’ Campbell laughed as he said it.

“(Goff’s) got to be, that’s what he has to do for us. He has to be the constant, there can’t be the ebbs and flows the highs and lows, he has to stay centered and be that for your team. … He fits us, he really does,’’ the coach added.

Goff played a big role in the Lions’ turnaround from a 1-6 start to finishing with a huge 20-16 win over the Packers to finish the season at 9-8.

“We’re about running the football, play-action pass and when you do those things you need a quarterback that can get you in the right play and is very good at accuracy, controlling the football, decision making and he fits the bill on all of that,’’ Campbell said. “It’s a hell of a year by him. He’s one of the biggest reasons we got this turnaround — just his decision making, taking care of the football.’’

Goff ended the season throwing 324 straight passes without an interception. That’s the fifth longest streak in NFL history. Again, he’s a huge reason the Lions finished the regular season with the least number of turnovers of any NFL team.

Over the season Goff threw 29 touchdown passes, seven interceptions, completed 65.1 percent of his passes and finished with a 99.3 passer rating.

“It feels great, it’s been a lot of fun this year. I said — whenever that was — I felt like I was playing my best football. I still feel that way,’’ Goff said on Monday. “Surrounded by a lot of great players, a lot of great coaches, I have been able to have some good success personally. 

“More than anything I think being able to finish with a winning record as a quarterback and leader of this a team coming back from 3-13 and to do what we did this year, granted we didn’t make the playoffs,’’ Goff added. “The progress feels incredible and where we are right now heading into the offseason feels really good.’’

Goff has been surrounded with solid offensive talent and protected by what is arguable the best offensive line in the NFL.

“I think he played amazing this year personally. Obviously you look at his stats, the way he took care of the ball the last 10 weeks, he has been one of the best in the league,’’ wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown said. “Just that alone has been something really hard to do. The fact he’s shown that he can do that is a testament to the hard work he puts in, the care that he takes, the approach he takes to the game. That wins you football games. … Just that alone shows you how much he cares about this team, how much work he’s put in, I’m excited to play receiver for him.’’

Goff has said repeatedly in the last week that he appreciated being surrounded by a special group and on Monday said this season stacks up pretty high in his career.

“Maybe it’s prisoner of the moment, but this team is as special of a group as I’ve ever been a part of – it’s not prisoner of the moment because we were 1-6 … The people in this room and the people in this locker room, the coaches, it’s truly incredible the mental toughness and the perseverance that this group has that will carry us into hopefully greater things in the future,’’ Goff said. “It’s very humbling and I’m proud to be a part of it and say I’m a leader of it and to be around these people every day this year.’’

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)

Lions finish with winning record after huge win over Packers at Lambeau

It was not at all surprising that the Lions played the Green Bay Packers like everything depended on a win. Detroit knew when it took the field there was no chance they could earn a playoff berth after the Seahawks beat the Rams in overtime, but they played like it was their Super Bowl.

The Lions ended up with a 20-16 win at Green Bay on Sunday night to knock the Packers out of the postseason. 

“It was a great win, I was proud of our guys, they played their ass off, they were ready for this game,’’ coach Dan Campbell said. “They wanted to prove something and they did that. This team has hung in there all year long, it’s a special group. The hard part of this is it’s over for this season because it is a special group. If you’ve got to go down, and it’s the last one for the season, what a better way to go than that for 2022.’’

The final play perfectly captured their season. It was a fourth-and-1 at the Packers’ 15-yard line with 1:15 on the clock. A field goal would have given the Packers too much time to go down the field and possibly win.

Like he’s done all season, Campbell trusted his offense and went for the win on fourth down. 

Boom – Jared Goff to D.J. Chark for 4 yards, the first down and the win. Detroit was 2-for-2 on fourth-down plays in the win.

Campbell said he wanted to put the game in Goff’s hands. “Let’s let Goff finish this out for us … We believe in Goff,’’ Campbell said.

The Lions finished the season 9-8, their first winning season since 2017. They also finished 5-1 in NFC North games while the Packers were 3-3 in division games.

It wasn’t a miracle, it was hard work and it paid off.

Five of the many reasons the Lions won:

1. Safety Kerby Joseph intercepted Aaron Rodgers on third-and-10 with 3:37 left in the fourth quarter. Goff and the Lions took over and made enough plays to keep the ball out of Rodgers’ hands for the rest of the game. Joseph also had an interception earlier in the game, but it was negated by a holding call. 

2. Jared Goff had better numbers in games this season, but certainly he came through when he needed to on Sunday night. He finished the season with nine straight games without an interception or what he called a “great little streak.” Against the Packers he was 23 of 34 for 224 yards with no interceptions. “(This team has) a lot of toughness, this team is built to handle adversity and we showed it tonight .This team would never win in these conditions on the road at Lambeau and we came in and did it,’’ Goff said. 

3. Aaron Rodgers had trouble with the Lions defense in Detroit on Nov. 6 when the Lions prevailed 15-9. That day he was intercepted three times.  Sunday he made a few big plays but not quite enough. He was sacked twice by Aidan Hutchinson and pressured start to finish by the young defensive group. “It verified what I thought. It wasn’t too big for them,’’ Campbell said. “They went out and played ball. Certainly at an NFL level, but they looked like kids again.’’

4. Running back Jamaal Williams scored a pair of rushing touchdowns to surpass Barry Sanders for the franchise single season mark. Sanders finished with 16 in 1991. Williams has 17 this season. Plus he hit the 1,000-yard mark in the win. “Everybody is happy for Jamaal. He’s the ultimate team guy,’’ Campbell said. The coach has repeatedly talked about Williams’ consistency throughout the season. 

5. Dan Campbell and his coordinators (Ben Johnson, Aaron Glenn and Dave Fipp) had the guys prepared physically and mentally. They knew they couldn’t get into the playoffs during pre-game warmups, but it didn’t matter. Campbell said they were unfazed. They played physical football just like they do in every game, in every circumstance. Campbell never, ever gave up on these guys even when they were 1-6. At that point he was continually asked why he saw improvement in his team when they weren’t winning and he continually said he saw it coming. Now we know those were not empty words. 

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)