There's no conspiracy. The NFL moved away from a "strength of schedule" format a couple of years ago, when they re-alligned the divisions.
They used to use a format that matched up "playoff teams" to play "playoff teams", and the "bottom teams" to play "bottom teams", and so on. When they re-alligned the divisions to four divisions, or four teams, in each conference, a couple of years ago they switched to a "rotation" type format. For example, the Lions played the NFC East, and the AFC South last year, and this year they play the NFC South, and the AFC North, etc.
This year, the Lions in the NFC North plays each team in their divison twice, Green Bay, Minny, Chicago. They play the NFC South, New Orleans, Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta. The AFC North, Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincy, and Pittsburgh to total 14 games.
The two remaining games get split between the two remaining divisions in their conference. The NFC East, and the NFC West. I believe they are matched up acording to their finishes in their respective conferences from the previous year. ie. the Lions finished 3rd in their division, so they play the 3rd place finishers from those other 2 divisions, Dallas, and Arizona. This is the only remaining SOS bit, and because it only applies to two games, it really isn't a factor, or at least the factor it used to play.
See, no conspiracy.