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Detroit Lions Week 14 rooting guide: Playoff, draft order hopes

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Here’s who you should be rooting for on Sunday, whether you’re rooting for draft order or playoff chances.

Seattle Seahawks v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions have a rare late game on Sunday, which means there’s a slate of football before they take the field against the Arizona Cardinals. It’s a perfect time for another week of Rooting Guide, and because the Lions are still technically in the playoff race, I’ll, again, make sure you have the rooting guide for both playoff chances and NFL Draft order hopes.

Here we go.

Jets (3-9) vs. Bills (4-8) — 1 p.m. ET — CBS

Who to root for (playoffs): N/A
Who to root for (draft position): Jets

Either result is good for the Lions’ draft position here, but root for the Jets above all. The Lions will get a chance to give the Bills another win next week, and if the Jets win here, the Lions could potentially jump both of them by Week 16. Right now the Lions are already ahead of the Bills in draft order due to a significantly easier schedule (.500 to .521). The Jets’ strength of schedule is almost identical to the Lions (.503), so Detroit could certainly use a game up.

Panthers (6-6) vs. Browns (4-7-1) — 1 p.m. ET — FOX

Who to root for (playoffs): Browns
Who to root for (draft position): Browns

Playoff scenarios are easy here: Always root AFC over NFC. Detroit has the tiebreaker over Carolina already, so a win would put them just a game behind if the Lions win, too.

This nicely meets up with draft position, because a Browns win ensures that Detroit won’t fall beneath them in draft order next week, even with a win over the Cardinals.

Falcons (4-8) vs. Packers (4-7-1) — 1 p.m. ET — FOX

Who to root for (playoffs): Packers
Who to root for (draft position): Falcons

This is a really tough one, and that means you should probably root against the Packers to keep your conscience clean.

But the Falcons have a pretty damn easy schedule ahead, so if there’s a team that could make an improbable run at the playoffs out of these two teams, I think it’s the Falcons (Packers, Cardinals, Panthers, Bucs left on the schedule).

As for draft position, it’s really a toss up. The only reason I said root for the Falcons is because they have a slightly worse record. However, that easy schedule could also mean they’re more likely to finish with a better record.

Sooooo.... just root against the Packers, as always.

Ravens (7-5) vs. Chiefs (10-2) — 1 p.m. ET — CBS

Who to root for (playoffs): N/A
Who to root for (draft position): Ravens

AFC matchup, so playoffs are not important. The Lions can’t catch the Chiefs, but they could technically surpass the Ravens. A win means Detroit, at best, could tie Baltimore in draft position record.

Patriots (9-2) vs. Dolphins (6-6) — 1 p.m. ET — CBS

Who to root for (playoffs): N/A
Who to root for (draft position): Dolphins

Same as above. Lions can’t catch the Patriots, could very well catch the Dolphins.

Saints (10-2) vs. Buccaneers (5-7) — 1 p.m. ET — FOX

Who to root for (playoffs): Saints
Who to root for (draft position): Buccaneers

The Lions won’t be able to catch the Saints in either scenario. So in terms of playoffs, a Saints win is harmless while a Bucs loss is key. Tampa is just one of many teams the Lions need to jump in order to make a run at a wild card spot.

As for draft position, this is easy. The Lions are guaranteed to pick ahead of the Saints, but the Bucs could jump ahead of them if they plummet.

Giants (4-8) vs. Washington (6-6) — 1 p.m. ET — FOX

Who to root for (playoffs): Giants
Who to root for (draft position): Giants

Again, a nice marriage here. A Giants win not only gives the Lions an opportunity to jump Washington in the Wild Card standings eventually, but it also hands the Giants—a team competing for a top five pick—a win that will push them down the draft order.

Colts (6-6) vs. Texans (9-3) — 1 p.m. ET — CBS

Who to root for (playoffs): N/A
Who to root for (draft position): Colts

AFC matchup so no playoff implications. In terms of the draft position race, the Texans can’t jump the Lions, but the Colts still can. Root for Eric Ebron for a week. I promise it won’t hurt.

Bengals (5-7) vs. Chargers (9-3) — 4:05 p.m. ET — CBS

Who to root for (playoffs): N/A
Who to root for (draft position): Bengals

Same as above. No playoff implications, but the Bengals could still jump the Lions in draft order. A win makes it a lot tougher for them.

Broncos (6-6) vs. 49ers (2-10) — 4:05 p.m. ET — CBS

Who to root for (playoffs): N/A
Who to root for (draft position): 49ers

The 49ers are the only NFC team eliminated from postseason contention already, so no worry in this game about wild card chances. It seems unlikely the Lions will catch San Francisco in draft order—the team currently holds the No. 1 pick—but with a win over the Broncos, that suddenly becomes a real possibility.

Eagles (6-6) vs. Cowboys (7-5) — 4:25 p.m. ET — FOX

Who to root for (playoffs): Cowboys
Who to root for (draft position): Eagles

If you’re rooting for the playoffs, you absolutely want the Cowboys to run away with the NFC East. The head-to-head loss to Dallas makes them a tough out in the Wild Card race, so just hope they beat up on the Eagles and Washington down the stretch to send those team down the standings.

For draft position, the Eagles are the bigger threat to jump the Lions. It seems unlikely that either team will fall below the Lions in the overall standings, but since the Eagles have the worse record, it’s obvious they post the bigger threat.

Steelers (7-4-1) vs. Raiders (2-10) — 4:25 p.m. ET — FOX

Who to root for (playoffs): N/A
Who to root for (draft position): Raiders

No playoff implications because AFC, and the Lions could still jump the Raiders in draft order. Just win, baby!

Rams (11-1) vs. Bears (8-4) — 8:20 p.m. ET — NBC

Who to root for (playoffs): N/A
Who to root for (draft position): Bears

This game likely won’t have any implications on either. The Lions can’t jump the Bears in literally any playoff scenario, whether it be a divisional race or a wild card race. Oddly, however, they could still technically get jumped by them in draft order. Head-to-head record doesn’t really matter in draft position, just strength of schedule. Right now, the Bears have a much easier schedule than the Lions (.438 to .500), so if they were to both finish 8-8, Chicago would actually jump them in draft order (though the Raiders have their pick).

Vikings (6-5-1) vs. Seahawks (7-5) — 8:15 p.m. ET (Monday) — ESPN

Who to root for (playoffs): Seahawks
Who to root for (draft position): Vikings

I had to consult some playoff odds for this one, because it’s not clear which outcome helps the Lions more. On the surface, it would appear you want the Seahawks to lose, because a win would essentially seal their spot atop the Lions in 2018 due to their head-to-head win. However, the easiest way for the Lions to make the postseason is basically forfeiting that Seattle will grab one Wild Card spot, and hope they take down the rest of the Wild Card competitors, and that includes the Vikings. Detroit could still jump Minnesota, especially with a head-to-head matchup in Week 16.

For draft position, it’s simply a matter of the Vikings having a worse record, so a win puts them nearly out of reach for the Lions—which is a good thing for Team Tank.