2020 NFL schedule release: Detroit Lions divisional rivals

Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Green Bay Packers

2020 Schedule:

Week 1 – @ MIN / Week 2 – vs. DET  / Week 3 – @ NO (SNF) / Week 4 – vs. ATL (MNF) / Week 5 – BYE / Week 6 – @ TB  / Week 7 – @ HOU / Week 8 – vs. MIN / Week 9 – @ SF (TNF) / Week 10 – vs. JAX / Week 11 – @ IND / Week 12 – vs. CHI (SNF) / Week 13 – vs. PHI / Week 14 – @ DET / Week 15 – vs. CAR / Week 16 – vs. TEN (SNF) / Week 17 – @ CHI

As with the Lions, the Packers are facing a challenging opening quarter of the season prior to their Week 5 bye, beginning with two divisional games. The second of these is a home date against the Lions; it’s the earliest the two teams have met in a season since meeting in Week 2 in 2008. After playing each other in Week 17 in each of the last four years, the two teams will meet for the second time in Week 14 at Ford Field in 2020.

The Lions lost both games to the Packers last year in heartbreaking fashion, succumbing to game-clinching, buzzer-beating field goals on each occasion despite not trailing for a single second in either contest. Needless to say, the Lions cannot afford to drop too many divisional games this year and must show that they can hold leads against their NFC North rivals.

A difficult four-week stretch awaits the Packers coming out of their bye, comprised of three playoff squads from a year ago as well as a road date against the Buccaneers. Brady and Packers’ starter Aaron Rodgers have met three times, with Brady winning twice.

The Packers are undoubtedly looking forward to their Week 9 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, one of their five currently scheduled primetime games. Green Bay was trounced in two meetings against the 49ers last year, including a 37-20 loss in the NFC Championship game. The Packers were outscored 74-28 in those two games, and have dedicated much of their offseason to shaping their team to better compete with a balanced squad like San Francisco.

Their most significant personnel move was the first-round draft selection of Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. Rodgers, though much closer to the end of his career than the beginning, is still one of the most dangerous passers in the league, and should be highly motivated this year to prove that he is still capable of leading a team to the Super Bowl.

It’s doubtful that Love unseats Rodgers as a rookie, meaning the Lions are unlikely to face him in 2020. But he will certainly get his opportunity at some point, and possibly earlier than some would think. In today’s NFL, no one drafts a quarterback in the first round without a plan to get him into the starting lineup before long.

Consider that of the 30 quarterbacks drafted in the first round since 2010, only one (any Jake Locker fans out there?), did not start a game in his rookie season. Barring an injury or other unforeseen circumstances, Love could certainly become number two on that list. Still, one has to consider the distinct possibility that this could be Rodgers’ final season in green and gold.