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NFC playoff picture: Lions postseason odds fall with Falcons’ win over Saints

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There’s still a chance, but it’s not looking good.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions haven’t done a great job of helping themselves get back into the playoff race, but they certainly didn’t get any help from others during last night’s “Thursday Night Football” game between the Falcons and Saints.

Atlanta was possibly the most realistic team the Lions could jump in the Wild Card race, but thanks to a last-minute Drew Brees interception in the red zone, the Falcons came out on top of a wild NFC South game.

According to the New York Times’ playoff simulator, that interception dropped that Lions’ playoff chances from an already-low 10 percent, to just 8 percent.

But I am in service to those that cling on to hope, and we’ll have plenty of time to talk about the draft in the next five months anyways.

Here’s a look at the current NFC wild card race and what the Lions need to get into the picture.

NFC Wild Card race

  1. Vikings: 10-2
  2. Eagles: 10-2
  3. Rams: 9-3
  4. Saints: 9-4
  5. Seahawks: 8-4
  6. Panthers: 8-4
  7. Falcons: 8-5
  8. Lions: 6-6
  9. Packers: 6-6
  10. Cowboys: 6-6

The Lions need to jump two out of three of the following teams to sneak into a playoff spot: The Seahawks, Panthers and Falcons. Let’s assume for a second that the Lions win out and finish 10-6.

The Lions would then need two of the following three things to happen:

Falcons (8-5) lose 2 of the following 3 games:

  • at Buccaneers (4-8)
  • at Saints (9-4)
  • vs. Panthers (8-4)

Panthers (8-4) lose 3 of the following 4 games:

  • vs. Vikings (10-2)
  • vs. Packers (6-6)
  • vs. Buccaneers (4-8)
  • at Falcons (8-5)

Seahawks (8-4) lose 2 of the following 4 games:

Note: The Lions could also possibly get in if they finish in a three-way tie at 10-6 with the Seahawks and the Panthers/Falcons.

Those results are far from impossible, but the most unlikely scenario may be the Lions winning their next four games. If they manage to pull it off, playoffs aren’t completely out of the question.

Still, when you’re relying on this much to go your way with still four weeks left in the season, chances are pretty slim that all of the stars will align perfectly.