Last week, we explored the Detroit Lions’ playoff chances, and things looked pretty promising. The Lions had, at worst, a 50/50 shot of making the postseason, while most prediction models had them somewhere closer to 60-70 percent.
After Sunday’s win over the New Orleans Saints, the Lions’ postseason odds have risen to the point where a finish without a playoff game would be a massive disappointment. Here’s a look:
80.6 percent playoff odds (+23.8%)
69.5 percent NFC North crown (+19.9%)
Football Outsiders clearly demonstrates how huge the Lions’ win over the Saints was. Their chances at the division jumped nearly 20 percent while their playoff odds now stand above 80 percent.
What perhaps is most promising is the Wild Card window that has opened up in case the division lead somehow slips away from the Lions to a streaky Packers team. Because the Vikings, Falcons, Rams, Saints, Eagles, Giants and Washington all lost in Week 13, the Lions now have an 11.1 percent chance to finish with a Wild Card spot according to Football Outsiders, which is a pretty significant chance.
90 percent playoff odds (+19%)
82 percent NFC North crown (+19%)
FiveThirtyEight valued the Lions’ win over the Saints equally to Football Outsiders. The Lions’ playoff odds and division title chances both rose nearly 20 percent after the win, and FiveThirtyEight is even more optimistic about their chances for a postseason berth. Only five teams—the Patriots, Chiefs, Seahawks, Cowboys and Raiders—have better odds to make the playoffs (the Cowboys have actually already clinched a spot).
New York Times — The Upshot
87 percent playoff odds
78 percent NFC North crown
In between FiveThirtyEight’s wild optimism and Football Outsider’s cautious estimate is the New York Times’ prediction model. Their model has a fun little section where you can pick the winners of every game each week and see how it affects the Lions’ playoff chances. For example, a Lions win over the Bears pushes their playoff chances to 93 percent. Combine that with a Packers loss and you’re at 97 percent.
Other playoff odds sources:
- 78.8 percent playoff odds per numberFire (+29.4)
- 88.5 percent chance via PredictionMachine.com (+28.7%)
- 86 percent chance via PlayoffStatus.com (+17%)
Last week we saw a pretty big discrepancy in the Lions’ postseason chances. However, after the win over the Saints, the numbers are clear: The Lions absolutely should make the playoffs. Detroit—and the rest of the NFC—is in a position that as long as the Lions can play .500 ball down the stretch, they should be pretty safe.