The Lions had a forgettable 2019 that saw Matthew Stafford get out to a blistering start before a spinal injury wiped out the final half of his season with Detroit. But in the draft, Matt Patricia landed the top press-man cornerback in Jeffrey Okudah to immediately replace Darius Slay in the secondary, and pass-catching runner D'Andre Swift was picked near the top of the second round. Notre Dame edge rusher Julian Okwara was grabbed in the third to give Trey Flowers a running mate at that position.
What's good for Detroit, despite a nightmarish nine-game losing streak to end the season, the Lions overall went 3-8-1 in one-score games in 2019, and teams typically regress to the mean the following season in those tightly contested contests. Much of the Lions success hinges on Stafford's health, and we don't know if he'll be the same after such a serious injury last season.
What we can answer for you is exactly how the Lions schedule will play out -- week by week. Below, we'll break down the 2020 schedule by week and pinpoint all of the prime-time games to keep an eye on. We'll also dive into Detroit's strength of schedule, what we project as their toughest stretch of games, and more. Without further ado, let's dive right into it.
- Week 1, Sep. 13: vs. Bears, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
- Week 2, Sep. 20: at Packers, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
- Week 3, Sep. 27: at Cardinals, 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox
- Week 4, Oct. 4: vs. Saints, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
- Week 5: BYE
- Week 6, Oct. 18: at Jaguars, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
- Week 7, Oct. 25: at Falcons, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
- Week 8, Nov. 1: vs. Colts, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
- Week 9, Nov. 8: at Vikings, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
- Week 10, Nov. 15: vs. Redskins, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
- Week 11, Nov. 22: at Panthers, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
- Week 12, Nov. 26: vs. Texans (Thanksgiving Day), 12:30 p.m. ET, CBS
- Week 13, Dec. 6: at Bears, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
- Week 14, Dec. 13: vs. Packers, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
- Week 15, Dec. 19/20: at Titans, TBD
- Week 16, Dec. 26/27: vs. Buccaneers, TBD
- Week 17, Jan. 3: vs. Vikings, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Detroit and head coach Matt Patricia will begin an important 2020 campaign at home against the Bears. The Lions will have a chance to unveil their new weapons on each side of the football, including cornerbacks Jeff Okudah and Desmond Trufant. A year ago, Chicago swept their NFC North rival in two meetings.
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Beginning on Thanksgiving Day against Houston, the Lions embark on a tough six-game stretch to conclude the 2020 regular season. Home games against the Texans, Packers and Buccaneers stand in the way of the regular season finale at home against the Vikings. Games at the Bears and Titans are sprinkled into that stretch.
Those six teams should be in a position of competition for the NFL playoffs.
As noted above in the schedule breakdown, the Lions will be playing zero prime-time games in 2020. They will play their annual Thanksgiving Day game, however, hosting the Texans. In 2019, Detroit played in one prime-time game. They visited the Packers on Monday Night Football.
Strength of schedule
Earlier this offseason, John Breech broke down the 2020 strength of schedule for all 32 NFL teams based on combined opponent winning percentage in 2019. The Lions' strength of schedule will be tied for the fifth-hardest in 2020. For a complete look at every team's strength of schedule, .
However, when basing strength of schedule on the over/under win totals for each team's opponents during the 2020 season at William Hill, the Lions go from facing the fifth-hardest schedule in the league to facing the seventh-easiest. For a complete look at every team's strength of schedule using this methodology, check out Jared Dubin's full breakdown here.