Lions 2013 schedule: Tough stretches could make season difficult for Detroit

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions have a few difficult stretches this season that could determine whether or not they make the playoffs.

The Detroit Lions are in the NFC North, which, for the last few years, has been led by the Green Bay Packers followed by a jumble with everyone else. The Packers took a bit of a step back last year, however, leaving a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel for the Lions, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears to aim for during the 2013 NFL season.

The Lions have one of the more difficult paths to get to the end of the season, however, considering their schedule is the second-hardest in the league when looking at last year's records. The full schedule is included below, but pay particularly close attention to two stretches: the road game against the Redskins followed by two divisional opponents early in the season and then the Green Bay-Philadelphia-Baltimore-New York stretch later in the year, as both stretches could cause a bit of trouble for the Lions' playoff hopes.

Week Date Opponent Time (ET) TV
1 Sept. 8 vs. Minnesota 1 p.m. FOX
2 Sept. 15 @ Arizona 4:05 p.m. FOX
3 Sept. 22 @ Washington 1 p.m. FOX
4 Sept. 29 vs. Chicago 1 p.m. FOX
5 Oct. 6 @ Green Bay
1 p.m. FOX
6 Oct. 13 @ Cleveland 1 p.m. FOX
7 Oct. 20 vs. Cincinnati 1 p.m. CBS
8 Oct. 27 vs. Dallas 1 p.m. FOX
9 Nov. 3 BYE
10 Nov. 10 @ Chicago 1 p.m. FOX
11 Nov. 17 @ Pittsburgh 1 p.m. FOX
12 Nov. 24 vs. Tampa Bay
1 p.m. FOX
13 Nov. 28 vs. Green Bay
12:30 p.m. FOX
14 Dec. 8 @ Philadelphia 1 p.m. FOX
15 Dec. 16 vs. Baltimore
8:30 p.m. ESPN
16 Dec. 22 vs. New York Giants
4:05 p.m. FOX
17 Dec. 29 @ Minnesota 1 p.m. FOX

Toughest Out: There are two games that look particularly tough for the Lions this year, but we'll pick the defending Super Bowl champions on Monday Night Football since the road game against the Green Bay Packers will happen early enough in the season that weather won't be a factor.

Must Win: The game on the road against divisional foe Minnesota could be crucial for the playoffs. It won't be easy for the Lions if it is, either, considering it's on the road and could be the last regular season game in the Metrodome.

Don't Overlook: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home on Nov. 24. There are a few tough opponents coming up right after that -- including the Packers just four days later on Thanksgiving -- making it easy to look past the Bucs.

For all your Detroit Lions news, make sure to head to

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