Week 14 was a mixed bag for the Detroit Lions and their playoff odds. The Falcons and Panthers picked up a couple of huge wins against good opponents. Both teams now sit somewhat comfortably in a wild card spot through Week 14.
But the Lions also did get a little help. Most importantly, they defeated the Buccaneers on their own, but Detroit was also helped out by the Jaguars, as they took out the Seattle Seahawks. Now just a game separates the Lions and Seahawks for seventh place in the NFC.
So what does that mean for the Lions’ playoff odds? Let’s take a look at a few prediction models.
12.2% playoff odds (+2.3%)
0.6% NFC North crown (+0.5%)
It was an overall net gain for the Lions according to Football Outsiders, but not by much. Their odds for the NFC North rose by a half of percentage, but they still need the unlikely scenario in which the Vikings lose out and the Lions win out.
Their wild card chances rose by 1.8 percent, but interestingly enough, the Green Bay Packers made a bigger move to the playoffs. According to FO, the Packers now have a 15.4 percent chance at the postseason. This week, the Packers also jumped the Lions in their DVOA ranking, and Aaron Rodgers is officially cleared to play.
16% playoff odds (+6%)
<1% NFC North crown (no change)
FiveThirtyEight is a little more optimistic about the Lions’ playoff chances, while a lot more pessimistic about the Packers’ odds (six percent).
According to their prediction model, the Lions will have a 52 percent chance at the playoffs if they win out. That goes to show you just how much help they still need across the board, even if they are able to take care of their own business.
New York Times—The Upshot
16% playoff odds (+6%)
1% NFC North crown (+1%)
Of the three major prediction models, the New York Times remains the most optimistic. They, too, are down on the Packers’ chances, giving them just a nine percent chance at postseason play.
But according to their model, the Lions have a 70 percent chance at the playoffs if they win out, nearly 18 percent higher than FiveThirtyEight’s prediction. This just goes to show you that prediction models are a very inexact science.
Other playoff odds sources:
- 8.7% playoff odds (+2.6%) per numberFire
- 9.1% playoff odds (+4.8%) via PredictionMachine.com
- 19% playoff odds (+4%) per PlayoffStatus.com
There’s little agreement between the models in just how good the Lions’ playoff chances are, but one thing is for certain: the Lions absolutely need to take care of their business in the next three weeks to get a shot. It still looks more likely than not that three wins will get them in, but there’s no denying they’re going to need some help. The best sources of help are from whatever team is playing the Panthers and Falcons that week. And, yes, that means rooting for the Packers in Week 15.