In order to clinch a playoff spot, all the Detroit Lions need to do this week is beat the Chicago Bears. However, for the purposes of seeding and potentially winning the NFC North title, they could use some help. Here's a look at which teams you should root for in Week 16:
If the Lions beat the Bears and the Bucs beat the Packers, the NFC North title belongs to Detroit before Week 17 even begins. Go Bucs.
Root for: Buccaneers
If the Lions were to lose to the Bears and later beat the Packers in Week 17, they could still end up with a first-round bye if the Cowboys drop one of their final two games. For that reason alone, a Colts win would be nice. On top of that, if the Cowboys lose their final two games, the Lions are guaranteed to go to the playoffs even if they lose to both Chicago and Green Bay.
Root for: Colts
As unlikely as it seems, there's still a scenario where the Lions could end up with the No. 1 seed in the NFC. For starters, they would have to win their final two games and finish 12-4. The Lions would also need Seattle to beat Arizona and then lose to St. Louis in Week 17. Also, the Lions would need San Francisco to beat Arizona in Week 17. That would leave the Seahawks and Cardinals at 11-5 and the Lions at 12-4. (The Lions don't own the tiebreaker against either of these teams, so they have to finish with a better record in order to capture the top seed.)
Root for: Seahawks
If the Eagles lose on Saturday, the Lions will clinch a playoff spot before they even play the Bears on Sunday. Needless to say, the rooting interest here is pretty straightforward.
Root for: Redskins
If the Lions beat the Bears and everything else goes according to plan, the NFC playoff picture will look something like this going into Week 17:
- Seattle Seahawks (11-4) *NFC West champion*
- Detroit Lions (11-4) *NFC North champion*
- Dallas Cowboys (10-5) *NFC East champion*
- Atlanta Falcons (6-9) *NFC South champion*
- Arizona Cardinals (11-4) *Wild card*
- Green Bay Packers (10-5) *Wild card*
- Philadelphia Eagles (9-6)
Bye: Seahawks, Lions | Wild-card round: Cowboys vs. Packers, Falcons vs. Cardinals
In this scenario, the Lions would clinch the NFC North title and a first-round bye since they own the tiebreaker over the Cowboys. The Lions would also still have an outside shot at the No. 1 seed, but they would need to beat the Packers and get some help from the bottom half of the NFC West in Week 17.
In any case, the Lions have an opportunity to not only get into the playoffs this week, but they could potentially even win their division and secure a bye in the playoffs. A lot would have to go their way, but the fact that this is all even possible is pretty remarkable.