Detroit Lions: 3 toughest non-divisional games of 2020

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions and Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions and Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Who are the Detroit Lions’ biggest opponents outside of the NFC North this upcoming season? We dive into the schedule to try and find the answer.

The NFL released the Detroit Lions‘ upcoming regular season schedule last week. And now we know the path the Pride will need to take in order to find redemption coming off a disappointing 3-12-1 record in 2019.

Last season, the Lions went 0-6 within their own division. But that was mostly due to quarterback Matthew Stafford being out due to injury. Looking beyond those hotly-contested NFC North matchups, which games appear to be the toughest for Detroit in 2020? Here are our three best guesses …

Week 4: New Orleans Saints

Outside of the NFC North’s Green Bay Packers, the 13-3 New Orleans Saints posted the best record of all the Lions’ upcoming opponents in 2019. And that’s despite veteran quarterback Drew Brees being sidelined for five games last season.

The Saints have made the playoffs each of the past three seasons, losing twice to the Minnesota Vikings. The point being here that New Orleans always fields a highly-competitive team and represent an early obstacle for Detroit in Week Four.

Week 8: Indianapolis Colts

The Lions will face a challenging Colts team at Ford Field in November after coming off two back-to-back road games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons. Last season, Indy posted a record of 7-9 with Jacoby Brissett starting 15 games under center. They were a 10-6 team the year prior with quarterback Andrew Luck at the helm.

This offseason, the Colts signed longtime Los Angeles Chargers passer Philip Rivers to a one-year, $25 million deal. The 38-year old quarterback figures to return Indy to their winning ways and they should be a great midseason barometer for Detroit.

Week 12: Houston Texans

For the first time since 2012, the Lions will face a non-divisional opponent during their annual Thanksgiving contest. And that was this same Houston Texans’ squad, which resulted in a 34-31 overtime loss by Detroit. The Lions have lost their last three turkey day games, so here’s a chance to right the ship.

Ranking every Lions team from the last 25 years. dark. Next

This is one humdinger of a holiday matchup and should be a real test to gauge whether this latest version of the Detroit Lions is the playoff-caliber team owner Martha Firestone Ford expects … or simply the Same Old Lions.