With a ton of hoopla, probably more than usual, given the dearth of sports news due to the coronavirus pandemic, The National Football League and the Detroit Lions announced their 2020 season schedules on Thursday night.

The release of the schedule brings with it so many questions, given current circumstances. The plan is to have the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans start the regular season on Thursday night , September 10th. The Lions are set to open at Ford Field on Sunday, Sept. 13 at 1pm against longtime rival, the Chicago Bears.

The first takeaway from this that comes to mind is will there be any fans allowed at Ford Field for the game. While pandemic rules vary from state to state, Michigan has been among the most conservative, so far. And this leads to even more questions rather than answers. Will players be allowed to practice, given the amount of close contact involved. Will the Lions be able to practice in Allen Park (their practice facility) or will they have to go outside the state, if rules are in place limiting contact and gatherings.

Adam Schefter reports the schedule has a lot of built in flexibility. Super Bowl LV can be moved back in February, maybe even into March, and any week or weeks can be either cancelled or put after Christmas and into January.

But for discussion purposes, if the season does play out as scheduled, the Lions host the Bears for their home opener. And the coming weeks don't get any easier. Now, to be fair, if you're looking through the schedule and mentally counting potential wins (or losses), remind yourself, that every team has made personnel changes since last season, and players like Matthew Stafford should be back healthy.

So, on with the schedule and more takeaways:

It's a tough start. Chicago, at Green Bay in week 2, a winnable game in Arizona in week 3, (of course, many said that last year, and the Lions gave away win for a tie.) Then it's New Orleans in week 4. (First quarter of the schedule: maybe 2-2, at best. By the way, Vegas oddsmakers have the Lions as favorites over the Bears in the opener.)

The second quarter of the season starts with a trip South to play Jacksonville and then Atlanta. Then home for the Colts; and off to Minnesota (1-3 is the guess here.)

(Notice only three home games in the first half of the season, if the schedule plays out as announced. Also notice, no Monday Night Football and the only Thursday is the Thanksgiving Day game. )

The third quarter of the season is Washington, Carolina, Houston (on Thanksgiving Day) and in Chicago. (at least 2-2 is realistic, maybe steal a win and go one better.)

Then the season wraps up with this quartet of games:  Green Bay, Tennessee, Tampa Bay (and Tom Brady) and Minnesota. (Pessimistically, if you get one here, that may be all you can hope for.)

(Another takeaway: This might be Tom Brady's last game in Michigan, given his age, and the unlikelihood of Tampa playing in Detroit two years in a row.)

This looks like a 6-10 season, maybe 7-9, and, if the Ford family keeps to its mandate for the team to make the playoffs, you're looking at a new management team in 2021. But...that's why they play the games. Maybe the Lions' rookies and free agents are all they are supposed to be and the team flourishes with a healthy Stafford back at the helm  Steal a couple games and you're playing for the hardware.

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