With the preseason and training camp fast approaching, Last Word On Pro Football is analyzing the schedules of all 32 NFL teams. Each team’s 16-game slate will be split into most difficult (1-8) and easiest (9-16). For this article, the toughest games on the Detroit Lions 2020 schedule are under the microscope. The Lions have some advantages this season. They won’t have to travel far and a season finale at home could be just what they need.
Detroit Lions Most Difficult Games in 2020
Weeks 1 and 12: vs, at Chicago Bears
The Lions and Bears have been division rivals since 1933, usually meeting up twice a season. It’s the longest-running annual series in the NFL. Chicago leads the overall series 101-74-5. Since the Super Bowl began, the series is more evenly matched at 54-52-1, but the Bears have reached the NFC Divisional Playoffs 12 times, leading to a Super Bowl win. The Lions have reached the playoffs three times, winning zero titles. Chicago defeated Detroit in both their matchups last season. However, their last win may have been due to the Bears defense thriving on the absence of Matthew Stafford.
Week 8 and 16: at, vs Minnesota Vikings
The Lions and Vikings have played twice annually since 1961. The Vikings have dominated the all time series, currently 76-39-2. The presence of Stafford transformed the Lions into a more threatening opponent during the 2010s. The Detroit defense have struggled against the Vikings offense though, and their last game in 2019 displayed all their shortcomings.
Week 9: vs Washington Redskins
The Redskins leads 31-14 in the all-time series. Detroit has met them in three post-season games, so if anything, they’ve played against them at a high level. They’ll need to pull out all the stops though, considering that at their last meeting, the Lions lost to the Redskins, continuing a four-week losing streak.
Week 11: vs Houston Texans
The Lions and Texans have met just four times. Houston leads 3-1, but each victory was only by one score. There’s every chance that Detroit can walk away with the win. Their 2012 meeting was disastrous – when then head coach Jim Schwartz controversially challenged a Texans touchdown that never needed to be challenged. This could be the perfect Thanksgiving Day rematch – a chance for Detroit to right a wrong.
Week 14: at Tennessee Titans
The Titans lead the series 9-3, with the Lions losing their last five matches. The scores haven’t been that far apart, except for two games. The Lions possess the talent now and have improved dramatically since 2008, when they lost to the Titans 47-10. However, they must not become complacent.
Week 10: at Carolina Panthers
They’ve only met nine times, but the Panthers lead the series 6-3. Detroit’s offense has struggled against Carolina. However, their defense in 2018 was superior. That was the last time they met, and the Lions are stacked in 2020. Will it be enough to keep the Panthers at bay?