The Detroit Lions are once again back in a tie for first place in the NFC North. As a result, the Lions could really use some help this week before they take on the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night. Aside from the Lions, which teams should you root for? Here's our Week 15 rooting guide:
With the Bears tied for first in the NFC North, the Lions are going to be big Browns fans this week. A Chicago loss would move the Lions one step closer to winning the NFC North, and it would potentially give Detroit some wiggle room if things go poorly on Monday night.
Root for: Browns
The Lions will only get that wiggle room if the Packers lose as well. It looks like Aaron Rodgers may miss one more game, so the Cowboys could really help bury the Packers in the NFC North race with a win. Dallas didn't do Detroit any favors on Monday night in Chicago, but the Cowboys have a chance for redemption with Green Bay coming to town.
Root for: Cowboys
With the Lions losing to the Eagles last week, they do not have the head-to-head tiebreaker for seeding purposes. As a result, a Vikings win would be helpful, especially if the Lions take care of business on Monday night and Dallas gets a win on Sunday. If those three games go the Lions' way, they will be back in control of the No. 3 seed going into Week 16. (Detroit owns the tiebreaker with Dallas, which owns the tiebreaker with Philly.)
Root for: Vikings
Other notable games
Seattle Seahawks (11-2) at New York Giants (5-8) | 1 p.m., FOX
San Francisco 49ers (9-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9) | 1 p.m., FOX
New York Jets (6-7) at Carolina Panthers (9-4) | 4:05 p.m., CBS
Arizona Cardinals (8-5) at Tennessee Titans (5-8) | 4:25 p.m., FOX
New Orleans Saints (10-3) at St. Louis Rams (5-8) | 4:25 p.m., FOX
A first-round bye isn't going to happen and the wild card is not a realistic route to the playoffs for the Lions, so the results of these games aren't really all that relevant to them. However, I guess the best thing at this point is to root for chaos involving the NFC's top teams, and I'd still much rather see Carolina snag the No. 2 seed and Arizona end up in the No. 6 spot if Detroit is able to take back the No. 3 seed. So with that in mind...
Root for: Giants, Buccaneers, Panthers, Cardinals, Rams
If the Lions beat the Ravens on Monday and everything else goes according to plan, the NFC playoff picture will look like this going into Week 16:
- Seattle Seahawks (11-3)
- New Orleans Saints (10-4)
- Detroit Lions (8-6)
- Dallas Cowboys (8-6)
- Carolina Panthers (10-4)
- San Francisco 49ers (9-5)
- Arizona Cardinals (9-5)
- Philadelphia Eagles (8-6)
- Chicago Bears (7-7)
- Green Bay Packers (6-7-1)
Bye: Seahawks, Saints | Wild-card round: Lions vs. 49ers, Cowboys vs. Panthers
Essentially, the matchups would go back to how they were before last week, but that's not really important. What is important is that the Lions would be able to clinch the NFC North title with a victory in Week 16 if this scenario plays out. For that to be a possibility, the Lions need to win and the Bears and Packers need to lose this week. That's the main thing to focus on in Week 15.