clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL Week 13 playoff odds: Lions’ postseason chances could realistically reach 50% this week

With the right amount of luck, the Lions could be right back in this thing after Week 13.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

If you want to see just how bad Week 12 was for the Detroit Lions, take a look at our rooting guide from last week. Of the seven teams Lions fans were rooting for, just one came out victorious: The Steelers over the Packers in a game that likely won’t really matter if the Lions take care of business anyways.

The Lions lost, putting their odds at an NFC crown right around the odds of converting a Hail Mary (with anyone other than Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball). But the worst news came from the other teams in the NFC. The Rams, Panthers, Falcons and Seahawks all won in Week 12, cutting the Lions’ overall playoff odds in half.

Let’s break it down.

Football Outsiders

24.3% playoff odds (-25.1%)
2.3% NFC North crown (-13.4%)

Click here to see their entire playoff odds breakdown

Football Outsiders has one of the more optimistic looks on Detroit’s playoff chances. The Lions are likely bolstered by the fact that the team ranks 12th in their keystone DVOA statistic. In fact, they rank them above the Atlanta Falcons (15th), a team that has a brutal schedule ahead of them—the hardest schedule, according to Football Outsiders. However, Seattle (11th) and Carolina (ninth) both rank about Detroit in DVOA.

As mentioned on Wednesday, Football Outsiders also has the optimistic viewpoint that the Lions would get into the playoffs more often than not if they finish 10-6. According to their simulations, a 10-6 Lions team gets into the playoffs 63 percent of the time.


23% playoff odds (-28%)
3% NFC North crown (-21%)

Click here to see their entire playoff odds breakdown

FiveThirtyEight sees the Lions’ playoff odds as pretty bleak. They’re nearly three times less likely to make the postseason than the Seahawks (60 percent), Panthers (73) and the Falcons (66).

One neat thing about their playoff odds model is that you can see how specific games affect their chances. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Lions’ playoff chances jump to 38 percent with a win over the Ravens. Couple that with a Falcons loss to the Vikings, a Panthers loss to the Saints and a Seahawks loss to the Eagles, and suddenly the Lions are back to 48 percent.

Of course, if Detroit loses to the Ravens, their odds drop all the way to 12 percent. But let’s not think like that.

New York Times—The Upshot

20% playoff odds (-27%)
4% NFC North crown (-16%)

Click here to see their entire playoff odds breakdown

More of the same from the New York Times. One interesting difference from the other models is that the NYT doesn’t have quite as high of odds for the other three competing teams for the wild card. The Panthers are high favorites to get a spot at 79 percent, but the Falcons and Seahawks are at just 59 and 55 percent, respectively.

Now’s also a good time to mention that the Packers have just a five percent chance to make the postseason in all three models. It’s okay, everyone. The bad men in green aren’t coming to hurt us again (hopefully).

Other playoff odds sources:


The Lions’ playoff odds took an enormous hit in Week 12, but they can jump right back to where they were prior to Detroit’s loss on Thanksgiving. If the following four things happen:

  • Lions over Ravens
  • Vikings over Falcons
  • Saints over Panthers
  • Eagles over Seahawks

... the Lions’ playoff odds are basically back to a 50-50 proposition. Those four outcomes aren’t that unlikely either. The only upsets would be Detroit winning as a three-point underdog and the Vikings (+2.5) defeating the Falcons on the road.

Pride of Detroit Direct

Sign up now for a 7-day free trial of Pride of Detroit Direct, with exclusive updates from Jeremy Reisman on the ground at Allen Park, instant reactions after each game, and in-depth Lions analysis from film expert Jon Ledyard.