The Detroit Lions will be tested early and often in 2007.
The NFL announced its league-wide schedule on Wednesday, and Detroit will play three of its first five contests on the road -- with the two home games against division rivals Minnesota and Chicago.
"Every schedule has some unique aspects to it and ours is no different in that regard," Lions head coach Rod Marinelli said in a team release. "But the issue is us. It's about what we do and how we do it. It's about our execution, our effort and our tempo. It's about our team chemistry. That's what will ultimately determine our success this season."
Detroit, which finished a disappointing 3-13 in 2006, wasn't exactly delivered an easy ride following the week six "bye." Although the formula devised by schedule makers is supposed to favor teams with less-than-stellar seasons, the Lions will host Denver on November 4, the New York Giants on November 18, Dallas in early December, and travel to San Diego two weeks later before finishing the year at Green Bay.
Detroit's non-division opponents posted a 75-85 collective mark in 2006, but the last three on the schedule -- Dallas, San Diego and Kansas City -- were 32-16 overall.
For the second season in a row, the league will implement 'flex' scheduling, making six of the last seven weeks subject to a time change.
Below is the team's 2007 schedule.
PRESEASON DATE OPPONENT TV TIME (ET) Thu, August 9 CINCINNATI BENGALS Local FOX 7:30 p.m. Sat, August 18 at Cleveland Browns Local FOX 7:00 p.m. Sat, August 25 at Indianapolis Colts Local FOX 7:00 p.m. Thu, August 30 BUFFALO BILLS Local FOX 7:00 p.m.
REGULAR SEASON DATE OPPONENT TV TIME (ET) Sunday, September 9 at Oakland Raiders FOX 4:15 p.m. Sun, September 16 MINNESOTA VIKINGS FOX 4:05 p.m. Sun, September 23 at Philadelphia Eagles FOX 1:00 p.m. Sun, September 30 CHICAGO BEARS FOX 1:00 p.m. Sun, October 7 at Washington Redskins FOX 1:00 p.m. Sun, October 14 *** BYE WEEK *** Sun, October 21 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS FOX 1:00 p.m. Sun, October 28 at Chicago Bears FOX 1:00 p.m. Sun, November 4 DENVER BRONCOS CBS 1:00 p.m. Sun, November 11 at Arizona Cardinals FOX 4:15 p.m. Sun, November 18 NEW YORK GIANTS FOX 4:15 p.m.* Thu, November 22 GREEN BAY PACKERS** FOX 12:30 p.m. Sun, December 2 at Minnesota Vikings FOX 1:00 p.m.* Sun, December 9 DALLAS COWBOYS FOX 1:00 p.m.* Sun, December 16 at San Diego Chargers FOX 4:15 p.m.* Sun, December 23 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS CBS 1:00 p.m.* Sun, December 30 at Green Bay Packers FOX 1:00 p.m.*
*Subject to time change (flex scheduling)
**Thanksgiving Day Game