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NFL playoff odds: Detroit Lions have a one-in-seven chance at the postseason

The Lions’ playoff odds didn’t change much after Week 15.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Although the Detroit Lions picked up their second of four consecutive wins necessary to make the playoffs, the Atlanta Falcons put a damper on any premature celebration after escaping Tampa Bay with a narrow win over the Buccaneers.

The Lions now need considerable help to get in, but with one fewer win on their own schedule to accomplish, Detroit’s playoff odds are actually remarkably similar to what they were last week. Check it out.

Football Outsiders

16.2% playoff odds (+4%)

Click here to see their entire playoff odds breakdown

Throughout the last few weeks, Football Outsiders has consistently had the Detroit Lions on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of playoff odds. Just last week, the site gave the Packers a better chance at the postseason. How’d that work out?

Now, Football Outsiders is singing the opposite tune. Of the the three main playoff models we track, they have the most optimistic view of Detroit’s postseason chances. Of the three teams still in contention but on the outside looking in, the Lions are significantly ahead of the Cowboys (10.9 percent) and Seahawks (10.0 percent).

Part of the reason for the Football Outsiders turnaround is the news of Aaron Rodgers going to IR. Their prediction model is now only using Packers DVOA from games in which Brett Hundley started, giving Detroit a higher probability to win their Week 17 finale against Green Bay.


14% playoff odds (-2%)

Click here to see their entire playoff odds breakdown

FiveThirtyEight paints a much gloomier picture. While the odds are not all that different, they also give you the option to see how playoff chances change based on future wins or losses.

Even if the Lions win out, FiveThirtyEight only gives the Lions a 35 percent chance at the postseason. In other words, they need more than help. They need luck.

New York Times—The Upshot

13% playoff odds (-3%)

Click here to see their entire playoff odds breakdown

While the New York Times has the lowest playoff odds for Detroit, they’re a little more hopeful if Detroit can manage to defeat the Bengals and Packers. According to their model, if the Lions win out, their playoff odds are around 42 percent.

Other playoff odds sources:


After weeks of variance, all six prediction models are pretty consistent about Detroit’s chances of making the postseason: They’re about one-in-seven.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.