NFL training camps around the country should kick off soon as the NFL begins to prepare for the 2020 season.
With the start of training camp naturally comes a look towards the start of the season, so let's take a look at some quick notes when it comes to Detroit's 2020 schedule:
Furthest road trip: Detroit travels to Arizona Sept. 27, which is a road trip of approximately 2,051 miles from Detroit to Glendale. It's the eighth time these two teams will meet up in the last nine seasons, and it's back-to-back September trips to the desert for the Lions.
Biggest schedule advantage: For a team expected to play meaningful games late in the season, Detroit plays three of its final four games in the friendly confines of Ford Field – Week 14 vs. Green Bay, Week 16 vs. Tampa Bay and Week 17 vs. Minnesota – with a Week 15 road trip at Tennessee mixed in.
Biggest schedule disadvantage: The Lions again have an early bye in Week 5. It's the third straight year the Lions will have an early bye week, which is tough on the players. It makes for a long grind from Weeks 6-17. Typically, players and coaches like to have their bye more toward the middle of the season to give the players an opportunity to get some time off and heal up for the stretch run. This season, Detroit's stretch run lasts 12 straight weeks.
Toughest individual matchup: The Lions travel to Carolina Nov. 22 to take on the Panthers and talented running back Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey led the league with 2,392 scrimmage yards last season, the third most in a single season in NFL history. McCaffrey's 116 receptions, second most in the league, were the most by a running back in a single season in NFL history. He was the first player in the Super Bowl era to record at least 120 rushing yards and 10 receptions in multiple games. Detroit's defense will have its hands full with McCaffrey in this matchup.
3 faces in new places:
1. Quarterback Tom Brady in Tampa Bay: Detroit hosts the six-time Super Bowl champion at Ford Field Week 17 on either Dec. 26 or 27. Brady also recruited tight end Rob Gronkowski to come out of retirement to join him and the Bucs' talented receiving duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Happy Holidays.
2. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in Arizona: Arizona ranked in the top half of the NFL last year in scoring under first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray. The Cardinals added one of the top receivers in the league to that mix in Hopkins this offseason via trade. The Lions face Hopkins and the Cardinals Week 3 in Arizona.
3. Running back David Johnson in Houston: Johnson is hoping to recapture the magic we saw from him in Arizona in 2016, when he rushed for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns, and caught 80 passes for another 879 yards. He hasn't been close to those numbers since, but he gets a fresh start in Houston alongside electric quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Lions will see both on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit.
Record breaking moment: 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. Stafford gets his first chance to break that tie Week 2 at Lambeau Field.