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TWENTYMAN: Breaking down the Lions' 2020 schedule

The NFL has released the 2020 preseason and regular season schedule, and the Detroit Lions will begin the year at home Sept. 13 hosting division rival Chicago. They'll also end the year at Ford Field Week 17, hosting another division rival in the Vikings.

Detroit's schedule initially includes just one nationally televised regular-season game – their annual Thanksgiving Day Game Nov. 26 against the Houston Texans.

Here's a breakdown of the entire preseason and regular-season schedule:


Pre Week 1, Aug. 13-17 at New England, TBD, WJBK-TV FOX 2

The Lions open the preseason on the road against a familiar opponent for Lions GM Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia, who began their front office and coaching careers in New England. It's unclear at this point if joint practices will be incorporated into this early preseason matchup like the Lions have done in past years. The first game the Patriots play in the post-Tom Brady era will be against the Lions.

Pre Week 2, Aug. 20, vs. New York Jets, 8 p.m., ESPN

Detroit opens their home slate of games at Ford Field on a national stage against the Jets on ESPN. As it stands right now, this is the only nationally televised night game on the Lions' schedule.

Pre Week 3, Aug. 27-30 at Miami, TBD, WJBK-TV FOX 2

The third preseason game is typically the dry run for the regular-season opener, as we see the starters getting the majority of their playing time in the preseason in this contest. Will the Lions get an extended look at Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who the Dolphins selected with the No. 5 overall pick?

Pre Week 4, Sept. 3-4 vs. Buffalo, TBD, WJBK-TV FOX 2

Detroit concludes the preseason with a home game against Buffalo, a familiar preseason opponent. Most of the starters sit this game out, but it's an important contest for the players fighting to become part of the initial 55-man roster.


Week 1, Sept. 13, vs. Chicago, 1 p.m., FOX

Detroit opens the regular season against a division foe. It will be the 180th meeting between these two clubs. Detroit is 46-42-1 in home games against the Bears. An interesting early season question is whether the Lions square off against Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback or Nick Foles?

Week 2, Sept. 20, at Green Bay, 1 p.m., FOX

Detroit hits the road the second week of the regular season to take on another division opponent in Green Bay at historic Lambeau Field. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford needs one touchdown pass to break a tie with Johnny Unitas (34) for the most touchdown passes against Green Bay in NFL history.

Week 3, Sept. 27, at Arizona, 4:25 p.m., FOX

It's back to the desert in September for the Lions as they head to Arizona Week 3. Detroit opened their season last year with a tie against the Cardinals in Arizona. This will be the 70th meeting between these two clubs and the fourth straight season the two teams meet up. It's the eighth time the two square off in the last nine seasons. This is the non-divisional opponent the Lions have most frequently played since 2002.

Week 4, Oct. 4, vs. New Orleans, 1 p.m., FOX

Bragging rights are on the line in this one as the two teams meet for the 26th all-time matchup with the series tied at 12-12-1. The Lions last hosted the Saints in the 2014 season, winning 24-23. Could this be the last time Lions fans get to see future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees play in Detroit?

Week 5, BYE WEEK

Another early bye for the Lions. Last year's bye week fell on Week 5 as well.

Week 6, Oct. 18, at Jacksonville, 1 p.m., FOX

After a couple weeks of rest, Detroit heads to sunny Florida to take on the Jaguars. This will be the seventh matchup between these two clubs with the series tied at 3-3. Detroit has won each of the last two meetings, including a 2012 victory, the team's most recent visit to Jacksonville.

Week 7, Oct. 25, at Atlanta, 1 p.m., FOX

The Lions will be making their debut at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which opened in 2017. The last time the Falcons hosted the Lions was in the 2014 International Series game in London, with Detroit winning on a dramatic last-second field goal. It's a bit of a homecoming for Stafford, who will make his professional debut in Atlanta after starring at the University of Georgia.

Week 8, Nov. 1, vs. Indianapolis, 1 p.m., CBS

After two weeks on the road, the Lions get back to the friendly confines of Ford Field to face another AFC opponent in the Colts. The Lions beat the Colts, 39-35, in their last meeting in 2016 in Indy. A Lions victory would give them consecutive victories over the Colts for the first time since doing so in the 1991 and 1997 seasons.

Week 9, Nov. 8, at Minnesota, 1p.m., CBS

After Week 1 and Week 2 meetings with NFC North opponents Chicago and Green Bay, Detroit gets their first look at division foe Minnesota at US Bank Stadium. It will be the 118th meeting between these two clubs. Detroit last beat the Vikings in Minnesota in 2017 in a 14-7 victory.

Week 10, Nov. 15, vs. Washington, 1 p.m., FOX

Detroit is 11-9 in home games in this series and has won the last three meetings at home. Detroit gets their first look at rookie edge rusher Chase Young, who was selected No. 2 overall, one spot ahead of cornerback Jeff Okudah, who the Lions took with the No. 3 overall pick in this year's NFL Draft.

Week 11, Nov. 22, at Carolina, 1 p.m., FOX

Detroit will be on the road in Carolina as they prepare for a short week with the annual Thanksgiving Day Game just four days away on Thursday. The Lions last played in Carolina in 2014, a 24-7 loss.

Week 12, Nov. 26, vs. Houston, 12:30 p.m., CBS (Thanksgiving)

The Lions have played the Texans just once before on Thanksgiving, a 34-31 overtime loss in 2012. Detroit won the first-ever matchup between the two, 28-16, at Ford Field in 2004. Matt Patricia compiled an 8-1 record against Houston while coaching with the Patriots. Including the postseason, Patricia is 10-1 all-time against Houston.

Week 13, Dec. 6, at Chicago, 1 p.m., FOX

After an extended rest thanks to their Thursday Thanksgiving Day Game the week prior, Detroit faces the Bears in Chicago Week 13. These two clubs haven't met since Week 1, so there's a chance both teams could look very different for this matchup at this point in the season. The Lions last won in the windy city in 2017.

Week 14, Dec. 13, vs. Green Bay, 1 p.m., FOX

Detroit lost both of their games against Green Bay on the last play of the game a year ago. Division games in December mean a little more, and the Lions are hoping this matchup has major implications in the NFC North race.

Week 15, Dec. 19 or 20, at Tennessee, TBD, TBD

Detroit is looking for its first-ever victory in Tennessee and first victory over the club since they relocated and rebranded. Detroit last played in Tennessee in 2012, losing an electric overtime shootout, 44-41. Tennessee advanced to the AFC Championship Game last season, so this could be a tough late-season matchup against Detroit's last AFC team on their schedule.

Week 16, Dec. 26 or 27, vs. Tampa Bay, TBD, TBD

The Lions host the Buccaneers for the second consecutive season, but this is a very different Bucs team than the one we saw at Ford Field last year. Brady is the quarterback in Tampa Bay now, and they also brought in tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Week 17, Jan. 3, vs. Minnesota, 1 p.m., FOX

Last year's home finale against Green Bay didn't mean much in terms of the NFC North standings. The Lions are hoping this one vs. the Vikings is a little more meaningful.

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