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2020 NFL schedule rumors: Detroit Lions to open up with 4 straight AFC games

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The Lions may start the year against all AFC South teams.

NFL: AUG 13 Preseason - Lions at Colts Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UPDATE: There are reports now saying that this isn’t true, and even one report suggesting the Lions will open up at home against the Bears.

The NFL schedule will be released later Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET, but veteran NFL reporter John Clayton may have spoiled what the first month of the schedule will look like for all 32 teams.

Clayton told Pittsburgh radio station 93.7 The Fan that the first four weeks of the season will feature out-of-conference play for all 32 teams. Doing that would make some sense for the NFL, as it gives them an easy out in case the schedule needs to be pushed back or any games need to be cancelled. Out-of-conference games are the least important four games on a team’s schedule, because the two teams playing aren’t competing for the same playoff spots. So if the NFL is forced to cancel any early games, it would make sense to pick those.

For the Detroit Lions, that would mean opening the season against the AFC South:

(In any order)

That division produced two playoff teams last year, including a Titans team that nearly made a Super Bowl run and one of the hottest young quarterbacks in the league in Deshaun Watson.

If this is indeed how the schedule unfolds, it will be an early test for the Lions’ newly-reformed run defense. The Titans, Colts and Texans all had top-11 run offenses last year, according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. However, the Lions’ offense could have a strong start as the Jaguars and Texans had bottom-10 defenses in 2019, and the Colts and Titans didn’t fare much better.

Stay tuned to Pride of Detroit all day, as we bring you all the schedule leaks between now and 8 p.m. on Thursday night.