Lions Announce 2006 Schedule

DenisePopiolek

Allen Park, Mich. - The Detroit Lions announced their 2006 preseason and regular season schedule today. The schedule is highlighted with an opening day tilt at Ford Field against the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks.

For the first time in NFL history, the league will implement a primetime "flexible scheduling" element on Sundays in Weeks 10-15 and in Week 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 or games scheduled the holiday weekend of Week 16.

"What a great way to start the season," Lions Head Coach Rod Marinelli said. "It certainly won't take us very long to find out how well we stack up against the elite teams in our conference, not when you open the season at home against the NFC Champions (Seattle) and then go on the road to play the division champions (Chicago) the following week.

"Every schedule has its challenges, but the bottom line is for us to be ready to play each and every week.

"It's not about who we play, when we play or where we play. The issue is us-what we do and how we do it. It's about how hard and smart we work. It's about our work and preparation during the off-season program, mini-camps, training camp and throughout the regular season."

Following the 2006 regular season opener, the Lions travel to Chicago to begin their '06 road schedule against the Bears at Solder Field. This will mark the third straight year the Bears are slated as the Lions opening road game and the third consecutive year the Lions opened the Bears home regular season schedule.

Detroit is scheduled for the Bye Week during Week 8 of the NFL season.

This season marks the fifth year since the NFL realigned the AFC and NFC into four divisions in each conference, and it begins the second rotation of the interconference and intraconference format which first began in 2002. The Lions will face teams from the AFC East, including home games against Buffalo Bills (Sunday, October 15 at 1 p.m. ET) and Miami Dolphins (Thursday, November 23 at 12:30 p.m. ET). The Lions road games against the AFC East opponents are at the New York Jets (Sunday, October 22 at 1 p.m. ET) and New England Patriots (Sunday, December 3 at 1 p.m. ET).

The Lions road game at New England will be the club's first visit to the Patriots' Gillette Stadium.

Along with home-and-home series against NFC North division rivals (Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings), the Lions other NFC opponents include home games vs. Seattle in the regular season opener, Atlanta Falcons (Sunday, November 5 at 1 p.m. ET) and San Francisco 49ers (Sunday, November 12 at 1 p.m. ET) Road contests against other NFC opponents include games at the St. Louis Rams (Sunday, October 1 at 1 p.m. ET), Arizona Cardinals (Sunday, November 19 at 4:15 p.m.), and Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, December 31 at 1 p.m. ET) in the regular season finale.

Seattle and San Francisco will be making their first trip to Ford Field this year. Detroit's game at Arizona will mark the first game the Lions will play in the Cardinals new stadium (Cardinals Stadium).

LIONS 67TH THANKSGIVING DAY GAME
The 2006 schedule includes the Lions' 67th Thanksgiving Day Classic against the Miami Dolphins Thursday, November 23 (12:30 p.m. ET). The 67th renewal of the Thanksgiving Day classic will air live nationally on CBS. It will mark the first time the Lions have hosted the Miami Dolphins on Thanksgiving. Miami has played in five Thanksgiving Day games, four times at Dallas (November 22, 1973, November 25, 1993, November 25, 1999 and November 27, 2003) and once at St. Louis (November 24, 1977), and hold a 4-1 record in those games.

PRESEASON
The Detroit Lions will open their 2006 preseason at Ford Field against the AFC West defending champion Denver Broncos during the NFL's Preseason Week 1 (Friday, August 11 at 7:30 p.m.). Along with the Broncos, the Lions will host the Buffalo Bills (Thursday, August 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET) and travel to Cleveland (Friday, August 18 at 7:30 p.m. ET) and Oakland (August 24-28 TBA) for preseason games. For the third consecutive year, WKBD-TV UPN 50 in Detroit will serve as the Lions preseason television partner, along with a network of statewide television stations.

This year will mark the first preseason match-up between the Lions and the Broncos since 1991, when the Lions claimed a 14-3 victory in the Hall of Fame Game played in Canton, Ohio. In the preseason, the Lions have a record of 1-2 in three games against the Broncos, meeting at Denver in 1967 and twice in Canton for the Hall of Fame Game (1976 and '91).

During Preseason Week 2 (Friday, August 18 at 7:30 p.m. ET), the Lions take to the road to face the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium for the fifth renewal of the Great Lakes Classic. Since the introduction of the annual preseason rivalry in 2002, the Browns own a 3-1 record over Detroit. Overall, the Lions are 20-16-1 against the Browns during the preseason.

Detroit will remain on the road for Preseason Week 3 (August 24-28 TBA) as the Lions travel out west to face the Oakland Raiders at McAfee Coliseum. The Lions and Raiders have met four previous times in the preseason, with the Raiders owning a 3-1 record in the exhibitions series. The last time the two teams met in the preseason was 2000 when the Raiders claimed a 23-17 victory in Oakland.

The Lions will play host to the Buffalo Bills in Preseason Week 4 (Thursday, August 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET) at Ford Field for the final tune-up prior to the start of the 2006 season. Detroit is 15-9-1 in 25 preseason meetings with Buffalo, including a 21-7 victory at Ralph Wilson Stadium last year. This will be the fifth consecutive preseason the two teams have closed out each other's exhibition schedule.

"NFL FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING 101"

Flexible scheduling begins Sunday, November 12, 2006 (Week 10), and is in effect for Weeks 10-15 and Week 17. It is not in effect Week 16 due to the holiday weekend. Only Sunday afternoon games in Weeks 10-15 and 17 are subject to being moved into the Sunday night window. There is no impact on
Thursday, Saturday or Monday night games.

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. 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.

PRESEASON
DATE OPPONENT NETWORK TIME (ET)
Friday, August 11 DENVER BRONCOS WKBD-TV UPN 50 7:30 p.m.
Friday, August 18 at Cleveland Browns WKBD-TV UPN 50 7:30 p.m.
August 24-28 at Oakland Raiders WKBD-TV UPN 50 TBA
Thursday, August 31 BUFFALO BILLS WKBD-TV UPN 50 7:30 p.m.
REGULAR SEASON
DATE OPPONENT NETWORK TIME (ET)
Sunday, September 10 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS FOX 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 17 at Chicago Bears FOX 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 24 GREEN BAY PACKERS FOX 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 1 at St. Louis Rams FOX 4:05 p.m.
Sunday, October 8 at Minnesota Vikings FOX 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 15 BUFFALO BILLS CBS 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 22 at New York Jets FOX 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 29 *** BYE WEEK ***
Sunday, November 5 ATLANTA FALCONS FOX 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 12 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS FOX * 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 19 at Arizona Cardinals FOX * 4:05 p.m.
Thursday, November 23 MIAMI DOLPHINS CBS # 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 3 at New England Patriots FOX * 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 10 MINNESOTA VIKINGS FOX * 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 17 at Green Bay Packers FOX * 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 24 CHICAGO BEARS FOX 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 31 at Dallas Cowboys FOX * 1:00 p.m.

All times Eastern Time; Home Games in BOLD CAPS
# Nationally Televised
* FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING: NFL Sunday games during flexible Weeks 10-15 are
subject to change 12 days and six days in advance for Week 17. Games are
subject to move to different time slots but dates will remain as announced.
Flexible scheduling only affects Sunday games and does not affect games
during Week 16.

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