2020 Team Analysis and Schedule
The Detroit Lions were first established in 1930, and yet they are still looking for their first-ever Super Bowl championship. The Lions have had some periods of success throughout their franchise’s history, but there have been many more down years.
Detroit competes in the NFC North Division, and they have struggled to find their footing against some of the most storied teams in the NFL. The Lions are finishing off a rough decade, but there are hopes of turning things around beginning in 2020.
The Lions will have one of the easiest schedules in the league by virtue of finishing in fourth place in the NFC North a season ago. Detroit will finish off the season with two straight home games, and they will once again host their traditional game on Thanksgiving Day.
Detroit Lions 2020 Schedule
|Week 1||Sept. 13||Chicago Bears|
|Week 2||Sept. 20||at Green Bay Packers|
|Week 3||Sept. 27||at Arizona Cardinals|
|Week 4||Oct. 4||New Orleans Saints|
|Week 5||Oct. 11||Bye week|
|Week 6||Oct. 18||at Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Week 7||Oct. 25||at Atlanta Falcons|
|Week 8||Nov. 1||Indianapolis Colts|
|Week 9||Nov. 8||at Minnesota Vikings|
|Week 10||Nov. 15||Washington Football Team|
|Week 11||Nov. 22||at Carolina Panthers|
|Week 12||Nov. 26||Houston Texans|
|Week 13||Dec. 6||at Chicago Bears|
|Week 14||Dec. 13||Green Bay Packers|
|Week 15||Dec. 20||at Tennessee Titans|
|Week 16||Dec. 27||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Week 17||Jan. 3||Minnesota Vikings|
Last Year’s History
After starting the 2019 season with a record of 2-0-1, things fell apart pretty quickly for the Detroit Lions. Detroit lost 12 of its final 13 games of the season to finish with a record of 3-12-1.
A season-ending injury to quarterback Matthew Stafford in Week 9 ended any real hope for the Lions in 2019, and they limped to the end of the season. To make matters worse, Detroit went 0-6 in games against their NFC North Division rivals.
The rough 2019 season earned the Lions a high pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but it was another forgettable season for the fans in Detroit.
Detroit Lions Key players
Matthew Stafford is entering his 12th season with the Detroit Lions, and health is a big question mark heading into this season. Stafford suffered a broken collarbone a season ago but is expected to make a full recovery.
Stafford has thrown for over 4,000 yards six different times during his career and eclipsed the 5,000-yard mark in 2011. He has completed over 62 percent of his passes since entering the NFL and is capable of carrying an offense.
A healthy Stafford is a huge key to the Lions’ success in 2020.
Kenny Golladay is entering his fourth season in the NFL, but he has quickly emerged as one of the top players at the wide receiver position. Golladay will be Stafford’s favorite target in 2020, and he is a nightmare for opposing cornerbacks.
Golladay has eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark in two straight seasons, and most of his catches come on deep balls. The former small-school product had 11 touchdown receptions in 2019 and will be looking to increase that number in 2020.
Defensive end Trey Flowers is entering his second season with Detroit and will be a huge piece to the puzzle for the Lions. Flowers led the team with seven sacks a season ago and is set to improve on that number during the 2020 season.
Flowers is entering his sixth season in the NFL and spent his first four seasons with the New England Patriots. He has 28 career sacks in his first five seasons, but he will be expected to lead the Lions on defense this season.
Detroit Lions New Additions
The Detroit Lions needed to make some changes to their roster, and they added several key players. Detroit was looking for help on both sides of the ball, and they got some in both free agency and the 2020 NFL Draft.
LB Jamie Collins joins the Detroit Lions after a solid year with the New England Patriots a season ago. Collins had seven sacks and three interceptions in 2019 and could emerge as a leader with Detroit.
CB Desmond Trufant will also be joining the Lions as a free-agent signing and will provide some help to a struggling secondary. Detroit also upgraded its secondary in the NFL Draft by selecting CB Jeff Okudah out of Ohio State.
Detroit Lions Key Subtractions
Even though the Lions were looking to upgrade their roster during the 2020 free agency period, they also lost many key players. Several of these losses came on the defensive side of the ball, which was an area that the Lions couldn’t afford to lose talent.
Detroit traded CB Darius Slay to the New York Giants, and his absence will be felt this season. The Lions will also be without DT Damon Harrison and OLB Devon Kennard heading into the 2020 season.
The Lions did lose a few players on the offensive side of the ball as well, but none of these losses were significant.
The NFC North is loaded with terrific teams, and the Detroit Lions have struggled to keep up in recent seasons. Detroit has routinely finished in fourth place in the NFC North, outside of a few random seasons.
The Green Bay Packers are the reigning champions of the NFC North Division, and they made it to the NFC Championship Game a season ago. Green Bay is expected to be strong again this season.
Minnesota was also a playoff team a season ago, and they were able to win a playoff game over the New Orleans Saints. The Chicago Bears won the NFC North in 2018 and should rebound in 2020 as well.
Detroit needs to start by winning a game against an NFC North opponent before it can worry about the divisional race.
Detroit Lions Defense
The Lions gave up more than 26 points per game a season ago, and their defense played a major role in them losing 12 of their final 13 games. Head coach Matt Patricia is known to be a defensive coach, but the Lions don’t have enough talent on that side of the ball.
DE Trey Flowers did have a solid season with seven sacks, but the Lions only managed to rack up 28 sacks as a team. Finding a way to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks will be a huge key in 2020.
The secondary was also a mess a season ago, and the Lions routinely gave up over 300 passing yards in a single game. Detroit has worked hard to shore up their defense in the offseason, and the unit must take a huge step forward this season.
Detroit Lions Offense
Matt Stafford’s return should help this offense overall score more points. He is tough and reliable and should be expected to go for well over 4,000 yards once more, something he managed to do six seasons in a row before the 2018 season.
If Stafford can get back into a groove, there should be more chances for a running game which only managed to be the 27th-best last year. They had four runners gain over 200 yards last season, and that’s just not enough to put Ws on the board.
The biggest question is whether offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell can turn a Stafford-led offense into a winning one. Last year, this team managed to rank 10th in the league in offensive touchdowns and in passing yards. While not bad, the Bears will need to be better if they are to sniff a playoff spot in the NFC.
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