The NFL schedule for the 2020 season has officially been released! While we have known what teams Detroit would play this year for a while, now we finally know what order they will be playing in, and who Detroit will play key matchups against in the homestretch of the 2020 season.
Today, we are going to go through the schedule game by game and make some way-too-early predictions about how the Lions 2020 season may play out.
vs. Chicago Bears
Ford Field will host the first game of the Nick Foles era in Chicago. Their division rivals will be their first opponent of the year in a game that both teams would love to win in order to set the tone to start what could be a rough year.
The Bears have had the Lions’ number the past two years, but Detroit has “owned” them in the years before that. Expect the Lions to continue their ownership in Week 1, as they will be matched up against a team in transition that is still learning to play with each other.
The Lions’ yearly trip to Lambeau Field will happen in Week 2. Despite the Packers addition of Jordan Love in the draft, this game is happening early enough in the year where Aaron Rodgers will still be under center. Beating Green Bay on the road—especially when Rodgers is around and healthy, as he should be this early in the season—has always been a challenge for Detroit. They drop an early game in the division.
Detroit heads out west in Week 3 to take on the Cardinals in the desert. These teams notably met last year in Week 1, where Detroit’s fourth-quarter collapse cost them a chance to land a Week 1 victory. Luckily for the Lions, the odds of them suffering another fourth quarter to the Cardinals this time around is unlucky, as a really good roster in Arizona might just steamroll them.
The NFL’s all-time leading passer will be visiting the Motor City for maybe the final time in his career in Week 4. Drew Brees and the Saints come to town, and the juggernaut from the NFC South likely leaves Detroit with a victory.
Detroit gets yet another early bye week in 2020. The bye may come at a great time for the team, though. A team on a 1-3 record and a three-game skid gets a week to rest and regroup ahead of a more favorable part of the schedule.
Jacksonville is currently a mess. They have unloaded almost every piece of talent on the roster, and by the time the season start,s even more talent will likely be gone. Gardner Minshew is a great story, but not a particularly great quarterback and likely will not be able to lead his team to victory. Lions win on the road
Atlanta is staring down the prospect of two wins or less in 2020 and will likely be competing for the first overall pick in the draft this year. Expect Detroit to help their tank effort during their trip down south.
The Lions return to Ford Field for the first time in nearly a month in Week 8. Philip Rivers’ Colts arrive in town (if Rivers doesn’t get himself benched before this). Rivers is very bad, though, and is basically on a retirement tour at this point. Indianapolis is not a particularly strong roster top to bottom either. Detroit has a real chance at nabbing their third straight victory.
Detroit completes their first round robin against the NFC North when they travel to Minneapolis in Week 9. This game could prove to be crucial in the race for the NFC North, as the Lions’ 4-3 record at this point will likely have them near the top of the division, though the Vikings will likely be just behind them. Minnesota is a strong team at home, though, and expect the Lions to drop a big game in the NFC North in Week 9.
Washington will be competing with Atlanta for the first overall pick next year. Just like they did the Falcons, expect the Lions to help out Washington’s effort by giving them a beat down at Ford Field.
Detroit gets to take on another team deep in the hole in Week 11. They travel down Charlotte to take on the newly-minted Teddy Bridgewater Panthers. Carolina is not very good, but Christian McCaffrey is like the super hero version of the player the Lions have struggled most with over the years, and he might just explode for 500 total yards in front of the home crowd.
vs. Houston Texans
The Houston Texans will once again be the Lions’ opponent on Turkey Day. Last time Houston made the trip up north on Thanksgiving, a 4-6 Lions team looked like they were set to pull off a huge upset over a 9-1 Texans team. Unfortunately, both the referees and Jim Schwartz made huge errors, costing Detroit all momentum in a second-half collapse.
Houston should be very good this time around, and their incredibly speedy offense seems like it is perfectly built to smash a defense like Detroit’s at the moment. Expect the Lions to drop another Thanksgiving game.
@ Chicago Bears
We enter December, a month that has haunted the Lions over the years.
The Lions also head to Soldier Field, where they take on the Bears for the first time since their Week 1 matchup. Winning these tough, cold-weather games on the road is always tough, especially against a team like the Bears. Mitchell Trubisky might also be the starter at this point (Foles is bad and might get benched), and he loves to absolutely obliterate the Lions secondary. Detroit may lose a crucial game in the NFC North race in the Windy City.
vs. Green Bay Packers
vs. Aaron Rodgers in December in a must win game for the Lions?
It is hard to really project this game so far in the future. Either the Titans will be a total mess at this point—the Ryan Tannehill contract will age badly, Derrick Henry’s magic from late 2019 won’t carry over—or things will be humming along as expected and they will be in the thick of the AFC South race. Either way, dealing with Henry will likely be a huge issue for the Lions front seven, even if he isn’t playing like an elite back anymore at this point.
The Bucs should be in the midst of the NFC playoff race. If Tom Brady and the offense really reach their peak, they might even be competing for the top overall seed in the NFC come late December. On the other side, Detroit’s season will be effectively dead at this point and their only real hope is to play spoiler here, which they likely will not do.
vs Minnesota Vikings
Expect a now-dead Lions team to run a cool trick play on a two=point conversion as the Vikings beat them in a game that could lock up the NFC North for the Lions’ purple rivals from the West.
Expect Detroit to have a rough start and rough finish to the season, while winning enough games right in the middle to give us all hope that they can make a run for the Super Bowl. While a few of these games could easily slip the other way (notably the games against Carolina and Houston), I believe it might be another rough year for the Lions. They are better than a five-win team on paper, but they have a tough slate ahead of them.
What will the Lions’ record be in 2020?
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