Detroit Lions, NFL Schedule

Detroit Lions 2020 NFL schedule: 5 must-win games

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – DECEMBER 05: Anthony Miller #17 and Riley Ridley #88 of the Chicago Bears celebrate after Miller scored a touchdown in the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field on December 05, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

If Matt Patricia wants to avoid the hot seat again in 2020, he’s going to have to deliver wins in these five games for the Detroit Lions.

Undoubtedly, the Detroit Lions will be better in 2020 than they were in 2019. Having Matthew Stafford back healthy again will make a significant difference in a league where the haves and have-nots are separated largely by quarterback play. The primary question (and concern, really) is how much better—and the Lions might not like the answer.

A healthy Stafford certainly hasn’t guaranteed much in the way of winning in the last few years as is and the Lions busy offseason really feels more like running in place than making real strides forward. Desmond Trufant is a drop from Darius Slay. Danny Shelton is a potential step up from Snacks Harrison, as is Jamie Collins over Devon Kennard, but for a three-win team, these transactions won’t even move the meter.

The Lions will be deeper than they were before and the draft will deliver some exciting new talent. A healthy stafford and an energized Matt Patricia on the hot seat might be the right combination for good things in Detroit in 2020. If so, they’ll need to perform well in these five games.

Home: Chicago Bears

There’s no quicker path to the basement of any division than to go winless in any of a team’s six games against its rivals, and that’s exactly what the Detroit Lions did in 2019. If the Lions are going to save Patricia’s job by making a significant leap forward, it has to begin with a much stronger performance in the NFC North marked by at least some season splits with teams like the Chicago Bears.

The good news here is that the best path to beating the Bears is to force their quarterback, Mitchell Tribusky to make mistakes. Unfortunately Darius Slay is now gone and the team is counting on Desmond Trufant, who is now 30-years-old and coming off of forearm and toe injuries.

If they draft Jeff Okudah, the secondary should be deeper and stronger overall with additions like Duron Harmon and Jayron Kearse. The front line should also enjoy underrated additions like Nick Williams and Danny Shelton, but this team also waved goodbye to Harrison, A’Shawn Robinson and Mike Daniels. Trey Flowers is a solid pass rusher on one side, but the Lions need another major import here who can shake up the pocket.

Depending on their draft haul, they could disrupt the quarterback enough to eke out a win.

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