An otherwise meaningless season finale against the Chicago Bears will help round out the list of opponents on the Detroit Lions’ 2016 schedule.
There are a lot of unknowns surrounding the Detroit Lions for 2016 but after week 17, we will know all the teams who will appear on the Detroit Lions’ 2016 schedule.
Since the league expanded to 32 teams in 2002, the NFL has followed a set divisional rotation as part of the scheduling procedure. For the 2016 season, each team in the NFC North will face each team in the NFC East and the AFC South.
Add in the six NFC North division games and 14 of the 16 games are set regardless of the outcome of the previous season. The remaining two games are conference games in which teams that finish in the same spot in the standings in their respective divisions that aren’t already on the schedule will round out the list of opponents.
For the 2016 season, the Lions’ list of opponents is as follows.
Home opponents: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, NFC West opponent
Away opponents: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, NFC South opponent
The Lions’ season finale against the Chicago Bears is essentially meaningless except for determining draft order and finishing out the 2016 list of opponents for both teams.
A Lions win means they finish third in the NFC North and will host the third place finisher in the NFC West (Rams) and travel to the third place finisher in the NFC South (Saints or Buccaneers).
A Lions loss means they finish in last place in the NFC North and will host the last place finisher in the NFC West (49ers) and travel to the last place finisher in the NFC South (Saints or Buccaneers).
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The Rams and 49ers are locked into third and fourth place respectively in the NFC North so which team appears on the Lions’ schedule is entirely dependent on the Lions-Bears outcome.
The Saints and Bucs are currently tied at the back end of the NFC South at 6-9 so the outcome of Lions-Bears as well as Saints at Falcons and Bucs at Panthers in week 17 will determine the Lions’ final road opponent on their 2016 schedule.