After finally getting back to the playoffs in 2011, the Detroit Lions were one of the worst teams in the league once again in 2012 record-wise. They finished just 4-12 on the season, which included eight straight losses to close out the year. However, this team wasn’t as bad as its record would indicate.

In fact, the Lions lost nine games by 8 points or less in 2012. They just simply could not come up with the big play late in games. Their defense was probably mostly to blame as they gave up 24 or more points in 12 of their 16 games last season. Matthew Stafford also threw 17 interceptions and fumbled six times, so the defense wasn’t all to blame.

Calvin Johnson was the lone bright spot last season. He passed Jerry Rice for the NFL single-season receiving yards record with 1,964 on 122 receptions. It’s going to be hard for the Lions to get back to the playoffs considering they have the second-toughest strength of schedule in 2013. Their opponents combined for a 138-118 (53.9%) record last year. They will face the AFC North and the NFC East, as well as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals outside of their division.

Cantor gaming has set lines for the upcoming 2013 season. The Lions are expected to be favored in eight games, an underdog in seven, and a pick ’em in one other. Detroit was much better than its record would indicate last season. I look for a big turnaround from this team as they push for a return trip to the playoffs. The Lions have a chance to win nine or ten games in 2013.

Detroit Lions 2013 Schedule

Week 1 – Sunday, September 8 vs Minnesota Vikings (1:00 ET)
Projected Line: -2.5

Week 2 – Sunday, September 15 @ Arizona Cardinals (4:05 ET)
Projected Line: -2.5

Week 3 – Sunday, September 22 @ Washington Redskins (1:00 ET)
Projected Line: +2.5

Week 4 – Sunday, September 29 vs Chicago Bears (1:00 ET)
Projected Line: -1

Week 5 – Sunday, October 6 @Green Bay Packers (1:00 ET)
Projected Line: +4.5

Week 6 – Sunday, October 13 @ Cleveland Browns (1:00 ET)
Projected Line: -1

Week 7 – Sunday, October 20 vs Cincinnati Bengals (1:00 ET)
Projected Line: -1.5

Week 8 – Sunday, October 27 vs Dallas Cowboys (1:00 ET)
Projected Line: -1

Week 9 – BYE WEEK

Week 10 – Sunday, November 10 @ Chicago Bears (1:00 ET)
Projected Line: +3

Week 11 – Sunday, November 17 @ Pittsburgh Steelers (1:00 ET)
Projected Line: +3.5

Week 12 – Sunday, November 24 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1:00 ET)
Projected Line: -3.5

Week 13 – Thursday, November 28 vs Green Bay Packers (12:30 ET)
Projected Line: +1.5

Week 14 – Sunday, December 8 @ Philadelphia Eagles (1:00 ET)
Projected Line: +1

Week 15 – Monday, December 16 vs Baltimore Ravens (8:40 ET)
Projected Line: PK

Week 16 – Sunday, December 22 vs New York Giants (4:05 ET)
Projected Line: -1.5

Week 17 – Sunday, December 29 @ Minnesota Vikings (1:00 ET)
Projected Line: +3

More NFL Team Schedules

AFC West AFC North AFC South AFC East
Kansas City Chiefs Pittsburgh Steelers Indianapolis Colts New England Patriots
San Diego Chargers Baltimore Ravens Jacksonville Jaguars New York Jets
Oakland Raiders Cleveland Browns Houston Texans Miami Dolphins
Denver Broncos Cincinnati Bengals Tennessee Titans Buffalo Bills
NFC West NFC North NFC South NFC East
Seattle Seahawks Chicago Bears Atlanta Falcons Philadelphia Eagles
St. Louis Rams Green Bay Packers New Orleans Saints New York Giants
San Francisco 49ers Detroit Lions Tampa Bay Buccaneers Dallas Cowboys
Arizona Cardinals Minnesota Vikings Carolina Panthers Washington Redskins