The Detroit Lions are setting their sights on the 2020 NFL season, and there’s been no shortage of opinions on what the year could look like for the team
No matter anyone’s opinions on the direction of the team or the offseason, the fact is the Lions should be in good position to have a much better year than they did in 2019, when things bottomed out in a big way. Health was the biggest issue that held the team back, and with that in the mix, Detroit should look forward to a much better year on the field in terms of winning and losing.
Here’s a look at predicting every game on Detroit’s schedule for 2020.
Lions Week 1: vs. Chicago Bears
The Lions catch a break not having to go on the road Week 1, and they will use it to their advantage here. The Bears benefitted insanely in 2019 from Detroit not having a healthy Matthew Stafford. Coming into this first game, they won’t get that lucky again. Chicago’s quarterback situation is also far from settled. This is a big game for the Detroit offense as well as defense as they score a much needed big win over a division rival to open the season and give them a boost.
Detroit 33, Chicago 17
Lions Week 2: at Green Bay Packers
The Lions nearly won in prime time at Lambeau Field last year, but there are some ghosts left over from that game they will have to deal with. A win here off of the Week 1 victory would be a huge statement and could put the team in the early driver’s seat for the NFC North, but it’s not a statement the Lions are ready to make at this point in time. They lose another close one to their old nemesis Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to even their record.
Green Bay 23, Detroit 20
Lions Week 3: at Arizona Cardinals
The fact is, the Lions should be motivated to grab this game if it happens. They were well in control of the game in 2019, but fell apart late. A similar meltdown won’t happen this time around. The Cardinals have improved but the Lions have as well, and should call on motivation to be able to win against a team they should never have tied in 2019. This is far from a “big” win in the minds of most, but it will be for the Lions in order to atone for last season’s mistakes.
Detroit 27, Arizona 17
Lions Week 4: vs. New Orleans Saints
Home atmosphere can mean a lot playing a team like the Saints, and if the Lions are charged up, it could aid in an upset as it did in 2014 when these teams last met at Ford Field. It’s a close game and a potential shoot out in the making, but Drew Brees makes a few more plays in the end and Detroit goes down by a narrow margin. They shouldn’t feel disheartened with the effort, however.
New Orleans 35, Detroit 23
Lions Week 5: Bye
Not an advantageous time for a week off for the Lions all things considered, but like they did last year, they’ll simply have to find a way to make due.
Lions Week 6: at Jacksonville Jaguars
Out of the bye, the Lions leave no doubts here and smash the hapless Jaguars, who could be heading for a horrible season. This game is never close, and the Lions feed off a crowd which might have more native Detroiters in order to put away a solid win at a very key time in the schedule.
Detroit 30, Jacksonville 10
Lions Week 7: at Atlanta Falcons
A swing game in the most true sense which could go either way, the Lions need to win on the road against a team that they should theoretically beat if they want to stay in the playoff hunt. This is the type of game the Lions have lost the last few years, but not this time. Somehow, by virtue of special teams, the Lions pull out a close one and exit Atlanta in fantastic shape.
Detroit 26, Atlanta 23
Lions Week 8: vs Indianapolis Colts
Phillip Rivers couldn’t beat the Lions at Ford Field last year. This season, he might have a bit of a better team to rely on, but the result will be the same for Rivers in the end. Too many mistakes on his part will doom the Colts, and the Lions will score a huge victory going into a key stretch of the season.
Detroit 20, Indianapolis 13
Lions Week 9: at Minnesota Vikings
The Lions haven’t enjoyed a win in more than a few years in one of the toughest places to play in the league and that run will continue here. It will be another bad day for Detroit, and they will lose a game many might say will take them out of the divisional race. More could be said about that, but it’s another ugly loss in Minnesota.
Minnesota 24, Detroit 10
Lions Week 10: vs Washington Redskins
Detroit’s loss to the Redskins was a mistake last season, and truthfully one the team should not have let get away. It is hard to foresee Dwayne Haskins winning a game on the road at Ford Field, and the Lions will put away the Redskins with some offense and defense they didn’t have in 2019’s matchup.
Detroit 23, Washington 16
Lions Week 11: at Carolina Panthers
It’s hard to say what type of team Matt Rhule is building in Carolina so early in his tenure, or if spending every pick on defense will work. On paper, it’s a game the Lions should win, but it’s also one of the ones they have found a habit of losing through the years. That happens here, as they simply can’t put it all together in time to forge a late comeback. Defense wins the day in this game for Carolina.
Carolina 17, Detroit 14
Lions Week 12: vs. Houston Texans (Thanksgiving Day)
Thanksgiving is an important day in Detroit, and the Lions have come close to winning the last few years, but also come up empty in a big way. With 2012’s loss on their mind, they roar out and harass Deshaun Watson and have a statement win over a solid team on the holiday.
Detroit 36, Houston 20
Lions Week 13: at Chicago Bears
Off a good performance from Detroit, what else could be expected but a dud against Chicago? It’s been in the team’s DNA for years. A win here could make a big amount of difference in playoff positioning, but it’s simply not in the cards. The Lions drop a frustrating game on the road that they probably should win.
Chicago 20, Detroit 10
Lions Week 14: vs Green Bay Packers
A bounce back for the Lions is merely a week away as they finally put together a solid effort against Green Bay and drill the Packers. All the recent close losses help this one look like a runaway when all is said and done for Detroit, and they pull out a convincing win.
Detroit 27, Green Bay 20
Lions Week 15: at Tennessee Titans
The Lions haven’t played in Tennessee since 2012 and that was a wild game in which they lost. This time around, they might be in trouble against a Titans team which is extremely physical and might be a model of what the Lions hope to become in the NFC North. They get a lesson they will need to apply later from this game.
Tennessee 31, Detroit 23
Lions Week 16: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Far too many folks have high expectations for the Buccaneers thanks to the arrival of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. This duo will help, but they’re also getting older and have lots of miles on the tires. Also, is the Tampa Bay defense that improved? We’ll know a lot about that by this point of the schedule, but Lions fans should remember the last time Brady and Gronkowski came to Motown. The duo caught a significant beating in 2018. That happens again here to the Buccaneers. 2019’s battle between the sides was lost due to a lack of Stafford, which if all goes as planned shouldn’t be a problem this time around.
Detroit 31, Tampa Bay 23
Lions Week 17: vs. Minnesota Vikings
It could be a “win and you’re in” or “win and you win the NFC North” type scenario for the Lions sitting at 9-6 heading into the home finale against Minnesota. In that case, who could pick against them? The crowd would be at a fever pitch for the first meaningful January game in years. If it happens this way, the Lions will win going away and set themselves up for what should be postseason contention with a big revenge win after last year’s shootout loss.
Detroit 27, Minnesota 20
Lions 2020 Record Prediction
Would this record be enough to get the Lions the NFC North? Possibly, depending on what type of year it is across the division. It should be enough to get the Lions in the NFC playoffs, however. Whether or not the team can win a game will depend on the situation and the draw, but it’s clear the Lions should have enough talent in order to crack the postseason for the first time under Matt Patricia. Perhaps the coach can be the difference in getting them over the hump when all is said and done once there.
With improvements on defense and offense and a coaching staff that seems ready to take the next step, the team should be able to shake off their rough performances the last few seasons. A 9-7 or 8-8 record might be good enough to sniff the playoffs too depending on how things fall. If this happens, Patricia and company figure to get another season to try and take yet another step. It seems like conditions are right for the team to finally begin to take some of those steps now.
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