Examining the Lions 2020 schedule, part one: Weeks 1-9

  • D'Andre Swift
  • Danny Amendola
  • Desmond Trufant
  • Detroit Lions
  • Jeff Okudah
  • Kenny Golladay
  • Kerryon Johnson
  • Marvin Jones
  • Matthew Stafford
By Sammy Bovitz August 5, 2020 0 Comment
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It’s time to preview the 2020 schedule for the Detroit Lions, where a gauntlet of elite wide receivers for Jeff Okudah awaits.

Week 1: vs. Chicago Bears

To open, the Lions welcome Mitchell Trubisky and company to Ford Field. The Bears defense is a great first test for the Lions’ multidimensional potential on offense. To echo an earlier article, the duo of Kerryon Johnson and D’Andre Swift make for a versatile rushing attack, and the solid offensive line will hopefully hold strong and give them space to move. The week one matchup is going to be a huge indicator of what the running back group can do, and more importantly, how much it means to the offense despite the challenge of a huge front seven. Either way, as long as Mitchell Trubisky starts at quarterback, the Lions should do just fine. Expect a Jeff Okudah interception or two.

Prediction: Lions 21, Bears 14

Week 2: at Green Bay Packers

Green Bay will be a true test of the defense, mostly because the Lions are facing Aaron Rodgers. The Packers’ below-average defense means Matthew Stafford will have lots of room to work. That said, this is the week Jeff Okudah squares off against Davante Adams, his first true elite test at wide receiver. It is going to be a close one, but expect Aaron Jones‘ usage to be a huge factor here. If they use him properly against the Lions’ lackluster front seven, the Packers should edge out a win.

Prediction: Packers 28, Lions 24

Week 3: at Arizona Cardinals

Jeff Okudah gets tested this week as well. Now he’ll be facing DeAndre Hopkins, and after two straight matchups against elite receivers, we’ll truly see Okudah’s value. However, the main factor this week has to be Isaiah Simmons. Simmons is easily one of the more versatile players the Lions offense will face, and if the Cardinals can deploy him properly, a lot of the potential of Detroit’s offense will be neutralized. If Simmons’ usage goes well and Kyler Murray has enough time to use the tools at his disposal, the Cardinals will win.

But if Okudah and Desmond Trufant have a fantastic day, the Lions edge one out in Week three. However, this feels like just the type of game that will get away from the Lions. Okudah will be tested here, and Hopkins is a huge leap from Adams. David Johnson is the type of running back who could have a random 100+ yard given the right front seven– which the Lions have.

Prediction: Cardinals 21, Lions 17

Week 4: vs. New Orleans Saints

The Saints showdown is easily the toughest test for Detroit in the first half of this schedule. Jeff Okudah’s tests continue to ramp up in difficulty, as this week he’ll be staring down Michael Thomas. Drew Brees will light up this Lions defense, and Alvin Kamara will probably steamroll the front seven. The game will ultimately come down to how well the Lions’ defense can hold strong, which, against this team, is not a great bet. Expect a Lions loss here.

Prediction: Saints 35, Lions 17

Week 6: at Jacksonville Jaguars

Coming off the bye week, Detroit enters a matchup that should only be slightly more formidable to the bye. With no real elite wide receiver to challenge Jeff Okudah and a defense that is solid but about to crumble from within, the Lions should have no problem taking down Gardner Minshew and company this week. That is unless Leonard Fournette torches the defense, which is very possible.

Prediction: Lions 28, Jaguars 7

Week 7: at Atlanta Falcons

Jeff Okudah’s elite receiver gauntlet returns with a matchup against Julio Jones, but the Lions should win the week anyway. The Falcons defense is just not equipped to deal with what the Lions have coming, nor do they seem to realize what Matthew Stafford is working with. After all, how can that relatively weak secondary challenge Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., Danny Amendola, and D’Andre Swift all at once?

Prediction: Lions 35, Falcons 21

Week 8:  vs. Indianapolis Colts

The Lions should be able to handle Philip Rivers and company pretty well this week. Though TY Hilton is an above-average receiver, Okudah’s already stared down four of the best receivers in football, and while Marlon Mack is okay, only an elite running back can completely crumble any NFL front seven. That defense is also very underqualified to deal with this potent Lions offense, and though Malik Hooker and Darius Leonard will probably neutralize D’Andre Swift, it won’t be enough.

Prediction: Lions 24, Colts 14

Week 9: at Minnesota Vikings

Adam Thielen will pose a non-threat to Jeff Okudah after the gauntlet he’s passed throughout the first eight weeks. Also, Kenny Golladay is better than him and this will be proven in 2020. That’s all that needs to be said there.

Prediction: Lions 28, Vikings 17

Closing thoughts

So, through the first nine weeks, the Lions could realistically go 5-3. If any of these predictions are wrong in terms of outcome, it’s likely the Packers, Cardinals, and Colts matchups, as they could really swing either way. On the defensive side, Jeff Okudah is facing a gauntlet of elite receivers, and the front seven will either stay strong or they will completely collapse, and both of these factors will swing the game. On offense, Detroit should capitalize on the weaknesses of defenses on the Jaguars and Falcons especially, and weak secondaries will be a boon to the strong receiving corps the Lions boast.

Could this outlook be completely wrong? Absolutely, but the fact is that this season, there are reasons to be optimistic. If these predictions are close to correct, Detroit can climb closer to contending for a playoff spot. That would truly be great to see after last season’s disappointments.

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