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Detroit Lions' schedule 2020: Lions get a late-season visit from Tom Brady

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The Lions' biggest can't-miss game on the 2020 schedule (1:14)

Michael Rothstein identifies the Lions' Week 16 game against the Bucks as a crucial one for Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia. (1:14)

The Detroit Lionsschedule for 2020 was released Thursday.

The 2020 NFL season will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 10 with the Houston Texans visiting the Kansas City Chiefs (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC). ESPN will have a Monday Night Football doubleheader on Sept. 14 featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers at the New York Giants (7:10 p.m. ET) and Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos (10:20 p.m. ET).

Check out the full week-by-week schedule here. Here’s what is in store for the Lions:

Game-by-game prediction

Lions reporter Michael Rothstein is predicting an 8-8 finish.

Sept. 13: vs. Chicago, Win

Sept. 20: at Green Bay, Loss

Sept. 27: at Arizona, Loss

Oct. 4: vs. New Orleans, Loss

Oct. 11: Bye

Oct. 18: at Jacksonville, Win

Oct. 25: at Atlanta, Win

Nov. 1: vs. Indianapolis, Win

Nov. 8: at Minnesota, Loss

Nov. 15: vs. Washington, Win

Nov. 22: at Carolina, Win

Nov. 26: vs. Houston, Win

Dec. 6: at Chicago, Loss

Dec. 13: vs. Green Bay, Win

Dec. 20: at Tennessee, Loss

Dec. 27: vs. Tampa Bay, Loss

Jan. 3: vs. Minnesota, Loss

Strength of schedule:28th, .525

Breakdown

In comparison to how some schedules have looked for the Lions at the time of release, this one seems fairly reasonable. Going on the road for four of the first six games is not ideal, nor is the early bye week that breaks some of those road games up. But the Lions avoid having to go to Green Bay in December, which is big, and opening against Chicago, which might have a new starting quarterback, could be an advantage in a year with shorter-than-normal preparation time.

Week 16 could be huge

The new-look Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by ex-Patriots Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, come to Ford Field just after Christmas. Depending on how the season plays out, Patricia could be coaching for his job against the quarterback and tight end that helped him win Super Bowls as an assistant coach. Or, Patricia could be coaching for a playoff berth against some of the best to ever do it. That could make for high drama in Week 16 in Detroit.

No Lions at night

While the Lions could get flexed later in the season into games against the Titans and Buccaneers, Detroit has no evening games in 2020 and only one game kicking off after 1 p.m. ET -- a 4:25 p.m. kick at Arizona in Week 3. The last time the Lions didn’t have at least one prime-time game on the schedule at release was in 2010, when Detroit came off a 2-14 season in 2009. Just two players remain on the Lions from that season -- QB Matthew Stafford and long snapper Don Muhlbach. So the Lions start the new decade just like they did the last one: Not quite ready for prime time.