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Lions open season at Oakland and return to Ford Field in Week 2 for home opener vs. Minnesota 

Allen Park, Mich. – The Detroit Lions announced their 2007 preseason and regular season schedule today. The schedule kicks off with an opening day tilt on the road against the Oakland Raiders and a home opener the following week against NFC North division rival Minnesota Vikings. 

Detroit’s opener at Oakland (Sunday, September 9 at 4:15 p.m. ET) is the team’s first regular season opener on the road since 2004. It also marks the first opener on the West Coast since the Lions traveled to Seattle to begin the 1999 season. The last time the Lions played at Oakland was October 13, 1996; the two teams have never met in a regular season opener. 

In Week 2, the Lions return to Ford Field to face the Minnesota Vikings (Sunday, September 16 at 4:05 p.m. ET) to open the team’s 2007 home slate. 

“Every schedule has some unique aspects to it and ours (2007) is no different in that regard,” Lions Head Coach Rod Marinelli said. “But the issue is us. It’s about what we do and how we do it. It’s about our execution, our effort and our tempo. It’s about our team chemistry. That’s what will ultimately determine our success this season.” 

Detroit is scheduled for the Bye Week during Week 6 of the NFL season. 

Along with the Lions’ home opener against Minnesota, other NFC North battles include home contests against the Chicago Bears (Sunday, September 30 at 1 p.m. ET) and the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 22 at 12:30 p.m. ET). NFC North road games are at Chicago (Sunday, October 28 at 1 p.m. ET), Minnesota (Sunday, December 2 at 1 p.m. ET) and Green Bay in the 2007 regular season finale (Sunday, December 30 at 1 p.m. ET). 

This season marks the sixth year since the NFL realigned the AFC and NFC into four divisions in each conference, and it continues the second rotation of the interconference and intraconference format which first began in 2002. The Lions will face teams from the AFC West, including home games against the Denver Broncos (Sunday, November 4 at 1 p.m. ET) and the Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, December 23 at 1 p.m. ET). The Lions road games against AFC West opponents include the opener at Oakland and at the San Diego Chargers (Sunday, December 16 at 4:15 p.m. ET). 

Denver and Kansas City will be making their first-ever regular season trips to Ford Field. The Lions road trips to Oakland and San Diego will be the team’s first to both of those western sites since 1996. 

Along with home-and-home series against NFC North division rivals, the Lions other NFC opponents include home games vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Sunday, October 21 at 1 p.m. ET), the New York Giants (Sunday, November 18 at 4:15 p.m. ET) and the Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, December 9 at 1 p.m. ET). Road contests against other NFC opponents include games at the Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday, September 23 at 1 p.m. ET), the Washington Redskins (Sunday, October 7 at 1 p.m. ET) and the Arizona Cardinals (Sunday, November 11 at 4:15 p.m. ET). 

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The Lions road game at Philadelphia will be the club’s first visit to Lincoln Financial Field. 

This year’s schedule includes the Lions’ 68th Thanksgiving Day Classic against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday, November 22 (12:30 p.m. ET) at Ford Field and will be televised nationally on FOX. It marks the 18th time the Lions have played the Packers on Thanksgiving, with Detroit holding an 11-5-1 advantage. The Lions have played Green Bay more than any other opponent in the Thanksgiving Day series. For 13 consecutive years from 1951-63, the Lions and Packers met on Thanksgiving with the Lions claiming a 9-3-1 record during that span. The Lions-Packers turkey day tilt marks the third time since 2001 that the two teams will play in Detroit on Thanksgiving and the second at Ford Field. In the last meeting, the Lions defeated Green Bay 22-14 in 2003. 

The Detroit Lions will open their 2007 preseason at Ford Field against the Cincinnati Bengals (Thursday, August 9 at 7:30 p.m. ET). The match-up will renew a preseason rivalry that featured an annual game between the two franchises from 1970-2001. After a one-year interruption, the Lions and Bengals met again in 2003, the last preseason game played in the series. The two teams have played a total of 33 preseason games with the Bengals holding a slight 18-15 edge. 

Following the ’07 preseason opener, the Lions take to the road on Saturday, August 18 to face the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium with a 7 p.m. ET kickoff. It is the second consecutive year Detroit will travel to Cleveland in the preseason and it marks the sixth renewal of the Great Lakes Classic. Since the introduction of the annual preseason rivalry in 2002, the Browns own a 4-1 record over Detroit. Overall, the Lions are 20-17-1 against the Browns in 38 preseason games. 

On Saturday, August 25, the Lions stay in the Midwest as they travel to the defending Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts for a 7 p.m. ET start. The Lions and Colts have met 19 times in the preseason with Indianapolis holding a 12-6-1 record over Detroit. Though on opposite sidelines, the game reunites Lions Head Coach Rod Marinelli and Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy. Marinelli served under Dungy as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive line coach from 1996-2001. This year’s games marks the final game Detroit will play Indianapolis in the RCA Dome with the opening of the Colts new stadium, Lucas Field, set for 2008. 

In the 2007 preseason finale, the Lions return home to Ford Field Thursday, August 30 to battle the Buffalo Bills for the final tune-up prior to the start of the 2007 season. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The two teams have closed out each other’s exhibition schedule since 2002. Detroit and Buffalo have met in 26 previous preseason games with the Lions owning a 15-10-1 lead in the preseason series. 

Preseason TV: For the fourth consecutive year, WKBD-TV CW 50 in Metro Detroit will serve as the Lions preseason television partner, along with a network of statewide television stations. 

For the second-straight season, the league will implement a primetime “flexible scheduling” element on Sundays in Weeks 11-17. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved from their timeslots to an 8:15 p.m. ET nationally televised kickoff on NBC. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. 

  • The NFL will decide (after consultation with CBS, FOX, NBC) and announce on 12 days notice the game being moved to 8:15 p.m. ET and may also announce games moving to 4:15 p.m. ET. Week 17 start time changes could be decided on 6 days notice to ensure a game with playoff implications.Â
  • CBS and FOX each can protect a total of five games in the seven weeks of flexible scheduling, but not more than one game in any week.Â
  • Flexible scheduling will ensure quality matchups on Sunday night in those weeks and give surprise teams a chance to play their way onto primetime.Â