Detroit Lions must have two wins or more heading into bye week

Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

The 2020 NFL schedule did not do the Detroit Lions any favors, which is why it’s vital that Motor City starts 2-2 or better to avoid another downward spiral.

The 2020 NFL schedule was released Thursday Night, as many blindly optimistic Detroit Lions‘ fans try to talk themselves into a 9-7 or 10-6 finish with a playoff berth to show for it.

As laughable as those early predictions may be to some bitter, yet realistic Lions fans, that’s pretty much the mark that head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn have to hit if they want to retain their current positions past this year, as owner Martha Ford has made it clear that the duo is batting with two strikes.

While it’s important to get off to a strong start in every season, it’s especially crucial this year, as getting a few wins heading into the Week 5 could significantly boost team morale and help the squad avoid the doldrums of last season’s team, who went more than two months without a win.

As’s Kyle Meinke helped to reiterate in his recent schedule reactions piece, starting off September strong is the only possible chance this team has at making the playoffs, and would gain Patricia some much needed job security.

"“It’s clear Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn are sitting on some of the hottest seats in the NFL heading into 2020. And the schedule shows just how short their leashes could be … There’s no such thing as a must-win game in Week 1 or Week 2. But man, does this come about as close as it gets. Detroit really has to at least split these, and simply cannot afford the kind of opening-day clunker we’ve seen the first two years under Matt Patricia.”"

This is the first time since 2005 that the Lions will open the season with back-to-back divisional match-ups, likely due to the league putting stipulations in place in case COVID-19 halts the start of the season. This way, these key divisional games that can help determine automatic playoff entrants can be more easily rescheduled for late in the season.

It’s unclear at this time who will be starting at quarterback for the Chicago Bears Week 1, but that already feared defense adding Robert Quinn does not bode well for a young, patched-together offensive line. And Lions fans probably still have nightmares about the last time Detroit opened the season with their Chicago rivals.

It doesn’t get any easier from there, as a young secondary led by Jeff Okudah will be tested in Weeks 2-4 by Aaron Rodgers (who is likely still pissed at the Packers for drafting his eventual replacement in the first round instead of a wide receiver) in Week 2, Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins in Week 3, and Drew Brees in Week 4.

There are two ways that this season could go, all depending on how the Lions respond to that difficult first month of the season.

If they go into the bye with one or no wins, fans everywhere will be calling for Patricia’s head as the Lions who lost a lot on last year’s squad may fall back into a familiar ‘woe-is-me’ mentality.

If they can manage to tread water at 2-2, or even come out that stretch with a winning record, they face other struggling squads in Jacksonville, Atlanta and Washington 3 of the 5 following weeks , not to mention a match-up with an aging Philip Rivers and Indianapolis

Next. The Lions top 10 plays of the past decade. dark

It’s not crazy to think that by the time the Lions face the Vikings in Week 9, Detroit has 5-6 wins and place themselves in the playoff conversation. But before they get to that point, Detroit has to at least win two of it’s first four games, or they can kiss their playoff hopes goodbye.