The Lions will head down South to Jacksonville for a Week 6 clash with the Gardner Minshew-led Jaguars.
It was only two seasons ago that Jacksonville came one game short of the franchise's first Super Bowl appearance.
In 2020, Minshew will aim to lead Jacksonville to a resurgence after winning just six games in 2019 and hopefully improve an offense that ranked just 26th in points scored.
Detroit’s most important offseason story line was quarterback Matthew Stafford returning to health.
The Lions went 3-4-1 with their veteran quarterback in 2019 and 0-8 without him.
The Jaguars and Lions present an inherently interesting matchup, in the sense that they are two franchises fighting for respect in this league.
Whoever has the bigger chip on their shoulder may come out of this one victorious.
Jaguars (2019: 6-10; last in the AFC South)
OLB Joe Schobert (via free agency)
TE Tyler Eifert (via free agency)
CB Rashaan Melvin (via free agency)
CB C.J. Henderson (2020 first-round draft pick)
QB Nick Foles
CB A.J. Bouye
DE Calais Campbell
The Jaguars have officially taken a detour from last season’s initial plan of moving ahead with a veteran QB in Nick Foles, and have now shifted gears by giving the job to the youthful Minshew.
The former Washington State standout is heading into his first year as a starter after taking over for an injured Foles a season ago.
At times, the Jaguars' offense was up-and-down, and perhaps relied too heavily on running back Leonard Fournette. But, all indications point toward an improvement in 2020.
Not mentioned above was the departure of wide receiver Marquis Lee, but he only played in six games in 2019.
And Minshew appears to have a core of emerging receivers in DJ Chark Jr., Chris Conley and Dede Westbrook.
The Jags are also hoping that the risky acquisition of the injury-prone Eifert pays off.
Lions (2019: 3-12-1, last in the NFC North)
CB Jeff Okudah (2020 first-round pick)
RB D'Andre Swift (2020 second-round pick)
LB Jamie Collins (via free agency)
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Question marks still hang over a Detroit defense that allowed the most passing yards in the NFL last season (4,551).
The Lions addressed that issue by selecting Jeff Okudah at No. 3 overall in this past April's NFL Draft.
Detroit also added defensive coordinator Cory Undlin, who spent the last five seasons as the defensive backs coach for the Eagles.
In addition to bringing in veterans on defense to hopefully aid the defensive turnaround, Lions general manager Bob Quinn drafted running back D’Andre Swift in the second round.
Stafford has never truly had a stable 1-2 punch behind him at running back. So, barring any injuries, we could see one of the more balanced Lions offenses in recent memory.
In a matchup with Jacksonville -- a team that put out one of the league’s worst rushing defenses a season ago -- hopefully, Detroit can keep them off balance throughout the course of the game.
What Happened Last Season
The Jaguars and Lions haven’t squared off with one another since November of 2016 -- a game that resulted in a 26-19 Lions victory.
Had they played last season, the hypothetical result would’ve likely been determined by what month they played each other.
The Lions would’ve been difficult to bet any amount of money on after November 3.
As we mentioned already, the Lions went 0-8 after this mark without Stafford.
The Jaguars got off to a 4-4 start, before falling apart and losing their next five games to fall out of the playoff race.
Maintaining success will be key for both teams in 2020, and Week 6 is when you can typically start to get a sense for whether a team is a contender or a pretender.