How will the Detroit Lions fare during the home stretch of the 2020 season?
The Detroit Lions are entering the home stretch of the season with a 7-5 record to this point. Do they have what it takes to pull out a few more victories and take the NFC North? Or will they level off during their chance at making the playoffs and getting a huge monkey off their back?
With two divisional games, one against the Green Bay Packers and another against the Minnesota Vikings, they can certainly put their stamp on the division. Three home games should also be favorable during this four-game stretch. Let’s dig into the matchups.
Packers at Lions, December 13
It has to feel good to have the Packers visiting in December and not vice versa on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. Will there be fans in the stands to make things harder on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and company? Time will tell, but not having to travel and play in the cold should play into the Lions’ hands.
Once again, we’re still assuming healthy players and full rosters at this point, which certainly may not be the case. But, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and a couple of depth threat wide receivers in Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones should still wreak havoc on this Packers defense.
Lions running backs Kerryon Johnson and D’Andre Swift will also be making things difficult for Green Bay. Throw in tight end T.J. Hockenson and the Lions should simply overwhelm the Packers in this matchup while the Motor City defense holds them off just enough for a much-needed victory against a divisional foe late in the season.
Lions record: 8-5
Lions at Titans, December 20
Hitting the road for the last time in the 2020 regular season, the Lions head to Tennessee to take on a Titans team that is out to prove their visit to last year’s AFC Championship game wasn’t a fluke. And they’ve added defensive end Vic Beasley to their pass rush to help out their defense. This game certainly won’t be a cakewalk for the Lions.
The Titans running game is something to be feared with Derrick Henry making a major impact in 2019. But the bigger surprise was the resurgence of quarterback Ryan Tannehill and his connection with rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown. Entering year two in the same offense will be a huge undertaking for the Lions defense.
Being on the road against an AFC powerhouse just doesn’t have a good feeling to it for the Lions. If they expect to push for the division, they’ll need a victory. Unfortunately, they come out of Nashville singing the blues after losing a close one.
Lions record: 8-6
Buccaneers at Lions, December 27
We’ve made our way to one of the most interesting and unpredictable matchups for the Lions 2020 season as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit Mo Town. Or, as some have called them, the “Tom-pa Bay Gronk-aneers.” Yes, quarterback Tom Brady is reunited with tight end Rob Gronkowski with the Bucs and that has many thinking championship.
While the offense with receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin is getting a lot of attention, the Bucs defense is sort of flying under the radar as a sneaky-good unit. A familiar face would be defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh who’s known to blow up plays and force an offense’s hand.
Stafford and company could have a tough day on their hands if this Bucs team is anything close to their expectations this season. While the Detroit Lions get to host this game, it might not be any easier on them. It’s tough to pick against Brady with all the weapons he has and a solid defense behind him. Lions drop two in a row for the last time this season.
Lions record: 8-7
Vikings at Lions, January 3
New year, same season. Can the Lions start off 2021 with a win? The only thing standing in their way is the visiting Vikings. After dropping two straight, this game is an absolute must-win for Detroit in order to make the playoffs and Minnesota just added a formidable weapon on defense to replace the departed Everson Griffen.
Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue came over from Jacksonville to bring more fear into the Vikings defense ahead of the start of the 2020 season. What will his impact be on the Vikings squad? Surely we’ll know by Week 17 with plenty of tape for the Lions to study.
Ending the season at home will certainly help Detroit in their final divisional matchup. This will be another close game and one that will ultimately define their season. And they’ll be putting it all on the line with a chance to make the playoffs. In this situation, the Lions simply can’t lose, and they won’t.
Lions record: 9-7
Final thoughts on the fourth quarter of the season
A 9-7 season isn’t earth-shattering by any means, but it should be just enough to get the Detroit Lions into the playoffs where they can hopefully get another monkey off their back by winning their first playoff game in 20+ years.
A lot needs to go right for them to make it this far. Will the defense put it all together after a couple of years in head coach Matt Patricia’s defense? Will Stafford and his key offensive weapons stay healthy all season? Will Swift break out as the team hopes (and needs) him to? Can the offensive line win the battle of the trenches? We’ll just have to wait and watch to get the answers.
What do you think of these projections for the Lions 2020 season? Are they close? Or is someone drinking too much Detroit Lions “Dagger Juice” before we’ve even seen any live game action? Hit up that comments section!