The Detroit Lions schedule for the 2012 season was released on Tuesday night and, in a rather generous move from the powers that be, they were given a seemingly easy slate of opponents to begin the season.
The Lions will likely be playoff contenders this season, but it'll be much easier to gauge exactly where they're at when they enter their bye in Week 5 of the NFL season. Detroit opens with games against the Rams, 49ers, Titans and Vikings, their NFC North rivals, before being given a week to recuperate at the beginning of October.
That bye week likely isn't placed in the best spot considering the first four games, aside from San Francisco, shouldn't pose many problems for Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson's efficient offense. It certainly won't hurt to build up some early momentum, however, heading into the rest of their slated matchups.
Week 1 - Sept. 9 - vs. St. Louis Rams
Week 2 - Sept. 16 - at San Francisco 49ers
Week 3 - Sept. 23 - at Tennessee Titans
Week 4 - Sept. 30 - vs. Minnesota Vikings
Week 5 - BYE
Week 6 - Oct. 14 - at Philadelphia Eagles
Week 7 - Oct. 22 - at Chicago Bears
Week 8 - Oct. 28 - vs. Seattle Seahawks
Week 9 - Nov. 4 - at Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 10 - Nov. 11 - at Minnesota Vikings
Week 11 - Nov. 18 - vs. Green Bay Packers
Week 12 - Nov. 22 - vs. Houston Texans
Week 13 - Dec. 2 - vs. Indianapolis Colts
Week 14 - Dec. 9 - at Green Bay Packers
Week 15 - Dec. 16 - at Arizona Cardinals
Week 16 - Dec. 22 - vs. Atlanta Falcons
Week 17 - Dec. 30 - vs. Chicago Bears
As far as the most important matchups are concerned, one can look at the Thanksgiving Day game against the Houston Texans as well as a Sunday Night Football meeting with the Packers in Week 14.