Free Press sports writer Dave Birkett provides his game-by-game predictions for the 2020 Detroit Lions:
Sept. 13: vs. Bears
The Bears are going with Mitchell Trubisky in what can only be a Lions-related move considering how well he played against them last year and how much he struggled against everyone else. Come 4 p.m. Sunday, they’ll regret that decision. Pick: Lions 27, Bears 17.
Sept. 20: at Packers
No fans in the stands at Lambeau Field to start the season, but the Lions still have Aaron Rodgers and a pretty good defense to contend with. Pick: Packers 27, Lions 23.
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Sept. 27: at Cardinals
I’m buying the Cardinals as a playoff contender this year. Kyler Murray should be better in Year 2 and I don’t think the Lions have enough pass rush to expose Arizona’s mediocre offensive line. Pick: Cardinals 24, Lions 23.
Oct. 4: vs. Saints
Michael Thomas could go for 200 yards and a couple touchdowns and make me look silly, but the Lions have a knack for playing some pretty good football when people count them out (see: New England, 2018; Kansas City, last year). Pick: Lions 28, Saints 27.
Oct. 18: at Jaguars
Are the Jaguars even trying this year? Pick: Lions 30, Jaguars 16.
Oct. 25: at Falcons
I want to pick the Lions here, cause they’re the better team. But I can’t get this stat out of my head: The Lions are 0-3 in the second of back-to-back road games under Matt Patricia. Pick: Falcons 30, Lions 24.
Nov. 1: vs. Colts
The first game – maybe – with fans in the stands at Ford Field this year could make for a fun day. Pick: Lions 23, Colts 21.
Nov. 8: at Vikings
I’ve got the Vikings winning the NFC North this year, and that Danielle Hunter-Yannick Ngakoue pass rush combo looks pretty frightening. Pick: Vikings 20, Lions 16.
Nov. 15: vs. Washington
Former Washington defensive coordinator Rob Ryan told me this summer that if Matthew Stafford was healthy last year, the Lions would have beat Washington “by 50.” Well, it won’t be that bad, but Stafford is healthy now, so it won’t be close, either Pick: Lions 27, Washington 13.
Nov. 22: at Panthers
The schedule makers did the Lions a favor by giving them games against the three worst teams in the NFL: Washington, Jacksonville and Carolina. Pick: Lions 31, Panthers 21.
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Nov. 26: vs. Texans
After Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, there’s no quarterback I’d rather build a team around than Deshaun Watson. Pick: Texans 24, Lions 20 .
Dec. 6: at Bears
Outdoor game, in December, at Soldier Field. Unless the Lions magically find a running game, we know how this one ends. Pick: Bears 17, Lions 13.
Dec. 13: vs. Packers
Is it wrong to assume Trey Flowers won’t get a couple phantom hands-to-the-face penalties this year? Pick: Lions 28, Packers 21.
Dec. 19/20: at Titans
For everyone who’s ever complained about Stafford’s contract, let this sink in: Ryan Tannehill has a higher average annual salary. Pick: Lions 23, Titans 21.
Dec. 26/27: vs. Buccaneers
The Bucs are absolutely loaded on offense, and that’s not great news for a Lions defense still riddled with holes. Pick: Buccaneers 31, Lions 27.
Jan. 3: vs. Vikings
At 8-7 and with an expanded postseason, this one could be for a playoff spot. If it is, Stafford will get it done. Pick: Lions 20, Vikings 17.
Final record: 9-7
Contact Dave Birkett at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Lions content.