Lions' 2021 schedule unveiled: Detroit faces Matthew Stafford in Week 7
The Detroit Lions will open and close the 2021 season at home, host the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving for the third time in four years, play under the lights at Lambeau and travel to see quarterback Matthew Stafford's new digs before midseason.
The NFL released the schedule for all 32 teams on Wednesday night and the Lions are predictably short on primetime games, but have little else to complain about other than being across the country for the holidays at the end of the campaign.
The Lions will open the season at home against the San Francisco 49ers, a Super Bowl participant two years ago, but coming off a 6-10 season marred by injuries. They'll be looking to rejoin the ranks of championship contenders in 2021.
From there, the Lions will head on the road to play the Packers on Monday Night Football. The matchup comes nearly two years after Detroit's last Monday night appearance, also at Lambeau, where they lost on a last-second field goal following a controversial call against defensive end Trey Flowers.
The Lions also make early-season trips to Chicago and Minnesota, knocking out the divisional road slate in the first five weeks of the season.
The anticipated matchup with the Los Angeles Rams, which will pit Stafford and Lions quarterback Jared Goff against their former teams, will happen Oct. 24. That game kicks off at 4:25.
The Eagles come to town for a Halloween tilt a week later, which leads into Detroit's Week 9 bye. They'll come out of the break with a pair of road games against AFC North foes Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
Interestingly, the Lions also play the Steelers on the road during the preseason. This year's preseason is a three-game slate, which also includes home games against Buffalo and Indianapolis. Dates and times for those contests will be announced later.
After the regular-season game against the Steelers, the Lions once again play the Bears and Vikings back-to-back, with Chicago coming to Ford Field for Thanksgiving and the Vikings arriving 11 days later.
The Lions will be on the road three times the final five weeks, before closing at home against the Packers. The trips begin with a Dec. 12 matchup with Denver, a 17th opponent added to the schedule this offseason, followed up with Atlanta on Dec. 26 and Seattle on Jan. 2.
Given teams typically fly out the day before a game, that puts the Lions out of town on both Christmas and New Year's Day.
2021 Detroit Lions schedule
► Sept. 12: San Francisco, 1 p.m. (FOX)
► Sept. 20: at Green Bay, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
► Sept. 26: Baltimore, 1 p.m. (CBS)
► Oct. 3: at Chicago, 1 p.m. (FOX)
► Oct. 10: at Minnesota, 1 p.m. (FOX)
► Oct. 17: Cincinnati, 1 p.m. (FOX)
► Oct. 24: at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. (FOX)
► Oct. 31: Philadelphia, 1 p.m. (FOX)
► Nov. 7: BYE
► Nov. 14: at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. (FOX)
► Nov. 21: at Cleveland, 1 p.m. (FOX)
► Nov. 25: Chicago, 12:30 p.m. (FOX)
► Dec. 5: Minnesota, 1 p.m. (CBS)
► Dec. 12: at Denver, 4:05 p.m. (FOX)
► Dec. 19: Arizona, 1 p.m. (FOX)
► Dec. 26: at Atlanta, 1 p.m. (FOX)
► Jan. 2: at Seattle, 4:25 p.m. (FOX)
► Jan. 9: Green Bay, 1 p.m. (FOX)