The Lions are coming off a disappointing 3-12-1 season in which quarterback Matthew Stafford missed eight games. Coach Matt Patricia enters a pivotal third season looking to build off a strong NFL Draft in which the Lions added cornerback Jeff Okudah and running back D’Andre Swift.
Detroit will face a tough schedule that includes the NFC South and AFC South, and the challenges of the NFC North will not get any easier. The Lions were 0-6 in division games in 2019.
Here is a complete breakdown of the Detroit Lions’ 2020 schedule, including dates and start times for all 16 games and our early prediction.
Detroit Lions schedule 2020
- Home: Chicago, Green Bay, Minnesota, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Washington, Indianapolis, Houston
- Away: Chicago, Green Bay, Minnesota, Carolina, Atlanta, Arizona, Jacksonville, Tennessee
(The Lions’ schedule will be released Thursday at 8 p.m. ET along with the entire 2020 NFL schedule.)
(For Canadian viewers, each game can be streamed on DAZN.)
Detroit has six games on the schedule against teams that won 10 or more games in 2019, including the home-and-home series with the Packers and Vikings. Houston and New Orleans also won 10 games each.
Detroit has been a miserable road game under Patricia with a 4-11-1 record, and that will be tested against the NFC South and AFC South teams on the schedule. Weather should not be a factor in those games, and two (Atlanta, Arizona) are inside.
Lions strength of schedule & prediction
Detroit’s opponents had a combined record of 134-121-1 last season, a winning percentage of .524. The Lions are tied for the fifth toughest schedule by record as a result, and seven of those games are against playoff teams from 2019.
Tennessee and Houston are tough cross-over editions to the schedule. Detroit is 3-5 in nonconference games under Patricia, so there is an opportunity to sneak in a few victories.
Toughest tests: Four of the top eight all-time leaders in TD passes visit Ford Field this season. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers makes that trip every year, but Indianapolis’ Philip Rivers, New Orleans’ Drew Brees and Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady all come to Detroit this season. Stafford will have to be at his best in those games.
Tennessee is the toughest road game outside of the division. That will be a clash of former Belichick assistants in Patricia and Vrabel.
Biggest breaks: Detroit’s non-division opponents finished 14-24-1 last season, and the Titans were the only one that had a .500 record at home. Arizona, Carolina, Atlanta and Jacksonville are winnable games, and that could help Detroit hang around in the division.
Detroit has lost its last three Thanksgiving games, and it will try to break that streak in that annual tradition.
Bottom line: The Lions lost six division games by an average of 6.7 points per game, and that included a pair of heart-breakers against the Packers.
Detroit has a talented roster, and this is yet another chance for Stafford to elevate the franchise into a playoff contender. Those division games will be the key, especially if the Lions can take care of the winnable games on the road.
Record prediction: 6-10