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Detroit Lions clinch last place in the NFC North for first time in 6 years

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This isn’t the turnaround Lions fans wanted.

Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions lost their Week 16 game against the Minnesota Vikings, pushing their overall record to just 5-10 on the season. Combined with the Green Bay Packers’ overtime win over the New York Jets, the Lions are now guaranteed to finish in last place in the NFC North for the first time since 2012.

This not only marks the first time in six years the Lions will finish at the bottom of the standings, but it’s also the first time the Lions will lose 10 or more games in a season in that same span. Coming off of two back-to-back winning seasons—albeit 9-7 for each year—that can only be viewed as a major disappointment for this franchise.

Finishing last place in the division means the final part of the Lions’ 2019 schedule is nearly set. They will play the last-place team in the NFC West and NFC South next year. Here’s a look at the current standings in both of those divisions as of 5 p.m. ET:

NFC South

  1. Saints: 12-2
  2. Falcons: 6-9
  3. Panthers: 6-9
  4. Buccaneers: 5-10

With the Falcons and Buccaneers facing off in Week 17, there could still be a changing of the fourth-place team, but right now the Buccaneers are the most likely candidate.

NFC West

  1. Rams: 11-3
  2. Seahawks: 8-6
  3. 49ers: 4-10
  4. Cardinals: 3-11

The 49ers and Cardinals still have yet to finish their Week 16 game, but they are both currently losing (and expected to lose). Next week presents a tough challenge for both the Cardinals (@ Seattle) and the 49ers (@ Rams). So there’s a good chance the standings will hold.

If that’s the case, the Lions will play Cardinals in Arizona for the fifth time since 2012. It will be the seventh time the two teams face off in the last eight seasons. That’s nothing short of remarkable for a non-divisional opponent.

Next week’s game against the Packers won’t mean anything in terms of standings in the NFC North, but it could have a huge affect on draft order. Just look at how tight the standings are after the 1 p.m. games: