The Detroit Lions announced today their 2020 regular season schedule that features a Week 1 home game against the Chicago Bears, their first home opener against Chicago since 1982, as well as a Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Houston Texans.The Lions open the 2020 NFL regular season at home against the Chicago Bears, marking the seventh time the division rivals have met in Week 1 since the 1970 NFL merger – the most of any opponent for the Lions.
The Lions take on the Packers in Week 2, their earliest trip to Green Bay since the 2003 season. For the first time in franchise history, the Lions open up the season against the Bears and Packers in consecutive order. It also marks only the second time the team has played both Chicago and Green Bay within the first two games of a season (2005).
Detroit travels to Arizona for the third-consecutive year to play the Cardinals in Week 3 as the clubs meet for the eighth time in the last nine seasons. Since the NFL re-aligned in 2002, the Lions and Cardinals have met 14 times, the most of any non-divisional opponent for the Lions in that span.
Detroit’s 81st Thanksgiving Day Classic takes place Thursday, Nov. 26 at 12:30 p.m. ET as the Lions welcome the Houston Texans to a rematch of the teams’ 2012 Turkey Day clash. The Texans and Lions have met only four times in the teams’ series history. Since the 1970 merger, the Lions are 13-9 against AFC teams in Thanksgiving Day matchups, and 37-41-2 overall since making their Thanksgiving debut in 1934. CBS will air the Lions’ 81st Thanksgiving Day game to a national audience.
The Lions’ Bye Week occurs in Week 5 (Sunday, Oct. 11) of the NFL season. Detroit’s 2020 preseason schedule features a full slate of AFC East matchups, including home games against the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills (Weeks 2 and 4) and road contests against the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins (Weeks 1 and 3).
“Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 11-17. Additionally, in Weeks 5-10, flexible scheduling may be used in no more than two weeks. In Weeks 5-16, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time.
For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to January 3. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17, but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot. Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into primetime.
Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday or Monday nights.