The Detroit Lions are pushing toward a 2020 season which is still a go, but might be in jeopardy when all is said and done. One serious change has already been planned for the preseason.
According to a report from Pro Football Talk, the Lions along with the rest of the league are going to see 2 games sliced from the preseason schedule. For the Lions, this would mean losing games against the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills.
So, according to that @ProFootballTalk report, the Lions’ updated preseason schedule would be:
Gone: at New England, vs. Buffalo
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) July 1, 2020
Detroit was scheduled to do joint training camp work with the Patriots, but the NFL scrapped joint camp practices as well, so the team will lose out on the extra work they could have done in the name of safety. Cutting down the preseason will in theory reduce travel and the chances of spreading or getting coronavirus for teams.
Will the 2020 season get underway without similar cancellations? That remains to be seen, but for now, the preseason is the first to take a hit.
Lions Original 2020 Preseason Schedule
A few months back, the Lions finalized things for their exhibition games in 2020. The team was to kick things off on August 13, and proceed from there.
The games were to go as follows prior to cancellations:
Thursday, August 13: at New England Patriots (7:30 p.m.)
Thursday, August 20: vs. New York Jets (8 p.m. on ESPN)
Thursday, August 27: at Miami Dolphins (7:30 p.m.)
Thursday, September 3: vs. Buffalo Bills (7 p.m.)
Will the Lions play games in front of fans at Ford Field? Probably not, especially after Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer recently cast doubt on that by admitting there isn’t likely to be full football stadiums this fall.
As it stands now, the Lions will only play against the Jets and Dolphins this preseason, and only the New York game will be at home.
Lions Projected For Terrible 2020 Finish
Many aren’t especially high on the Lions having a great year whatsoever. One such person is Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report. Recently, Davenport predicted records for every team in the league by division, and when it came to the NFC North, he saw the Lions occupying a familiar spot.
Davenport had Detroit with a 5-11 record, which would be an improvement on 2019’s finish, but only a modest one, and likely not the type of strides the team needs to make in order to satisfy ownership ahead of a critical season on the field.
“The Detroit Lions have made the playoffs only three times since the turn of the century. They haven’t won a playoff game since 1991 and haven’t won 10 games in a season since going 11-5 in 2014.
The Lions aren’t winning 10 games in 2020, either—or making the playoffs.
Fresh off a 3-12-1 mess of a 2019 season, the Lions are tied for the league’s fifth-hardest schedule this year. Beyond four games against in-division playoff teams in Minnesota and Green Bay, the Lions face three more teams that made the postseason in 2019—the Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints at home and the Tennessee Titans on the road.
The Lions may be marginally better in 2020, but they aren’t going to be especially good.”
Obviously, this type of season would be bad news for the Lions, but it’s par for the course of what many expect coming into this season on the field.
Lions 2020 Schedule Difficulty Ranked
Most know the inherent difficulty the team will face within their own division, but how about from the schedule as a whole? Recently, CBS Sports looked at breaking down every team’s schedule from the hardest in the league to the easiest. Theoretically, the Lions should be sitting in a favorable spot as it relates to next season given the teams they will play.
The site and writer Jared Dubin used over-under totals from opponents to rank the 2020 schedule. What he found when it came to Detroit was a team that will have one of the easier schedules in the league this coming season. The Lions have one of the lower opponent strength of schedules in the league, which leads them to have a fairly easy schedule.
As a whole, the schedule is the 7th easiest in football for 2020. That, combined with the upgrades the Lions have made and a hopeful return to health might put even more pressure on Matt Patricia and company to have a successful season and win bigger than they have.
Naturally, even the worst of teams from 2019 have improved, so while the schedule might seem a bit lighter now, that’s not always how it works out when the games begin.
Lions Top Opponents During 2020 Season
The Lions will play a schedule that many folks might say is on the easier end, but the team has to understand that there are many challenges to come this season. Perhaps the biggest might be from the Buccaneers, a team that has become a chic Super Bowl pick after a huge offseason of additions. Battles against AFC foes that made the playoffs last year like the Titans, Texans and improved Colts figure to challenge the team as well. As usual, it will be important for fans to watch the NFC North battles given the intensity of those battles. Matchups against the Saints and Cardinals will be very interesting to note as well.
The 2020 preseason will only feature a pair of games for the Lions to prove themselves.