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There are still two weeks left in the 2021 regular season, but we can already look ahead to the 2022 NFL schedule with some degree of certainty. The week 16 outcomes around the league finalized the variables on the Detroit Lions schedule for the 2022 campaign.
Detroit’s loss to Atlanta secured last place in the NFC North for the Lions when coupled with the Chicago Bears road win over the Seattle Seahawks. That Bears-Seahawks outcome also ensured that Seattle will finish in last place in the NFC West.
Detroit will face all the teams in the NFC East and the AFC East in 2022. We already knew that. The divisional crossover games are where the 2021 standings matter.
Based on the rotating divisional schedules, the 2022 season pits the NFC North in sequential matchups with the NFC West and NFC South. The first-place teams in each division will square off, as will the second, third and fourth-place finishers against one another. So the Lions are locked into playing Seattle from the West and Carolina from the South. Atlanta’s win over the Lions and Carolina’s lifeless loss to the Buccaneers ensures the Panthers will be in last place in the NFC South.
The other division with that arrangement for 2022 is the AFC South in the “17th” game. And when the Houston Texans stunned the Los Angeles Chargers, the Jacksonville Jaguars clinched last place. Due to the nature of the schedule matrix, the Lions will host the Jaguars.
We won’t learn the sequence of the games or when the bye week takes place until at least May, but the opponents are locked in already.
Thanks to FBSchedule for the resourcing info.