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Nate Caminata - LionsFans.com
After a forgetful 2001 NFL campaign, the Detroit Lions will focus on the 2002 regular season, which will feature a plethora of changes. Including, obviously, the introduction of Detroit's new home, Ford Field.
However, due to the inclusion of the expansion Houston Texas, the NFL's new eight-division fold will also be unveiled.
This will acquit the age-old NFC Central, nicknamed the "Black and Blue" division due to inclimate conditions in their surrounding, and a group of organizations that generally produced tough teams.
The NFC Central will be replaced with the new NFC North, and feature all of the same teams with the exception of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have been moved, perhaps more porperly, to the NFC South.
The Seattle Seahawks, who resided in the AFC Central until the change, will harbor the most dramatic change -- shifting over to the NFC's West division, which will stay intact.
The cosmetic changes were necessary, according to the league, to restructure to a new assemblage that not only made sense, but also balanced the league properly.
But the Detroit Lions, and their fans, have a little bit more to look forward to then the remainder of the league.
The Lions will disrobe Ford Field to their anticipating fans and the NFL next season. The modernistic, state-of-the-art facility will house the 2002 Lions, and sit 65,000 -- a number that the average Silverdome game well exceeded in 2001.
Ford Field, and the Lions, will introduce the 2002 opponents to what could very well be an average sell-out crowd every week.
Those opponents include division rivals Chicago, Green Bay, and Minnesota, including a home tilt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Detroit will also host the New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, N.Y. Jets, and Dallas Cowboys.
On the road, Detroit will travel to those same divisional foes, and make trips to Atlanta, Carolina, Buffalo, Miami, and Arizona.
Dates for each of these contests will not be decided until April.
Because of the NFL's new format, a change in scheduling contests has also been implemented. This new change has brought forth Detroit's opponents until the 2009 NFL season. For a list, follow this link to the press release article