The Detroit Lions face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a game that will have no playoff implications. If you have no interested in watching a bare-bones Lions roster take on a wildly inconsistent Bucs team, no one would blame you. And if you happen to be outside the Michigan or west Florida area, it’ll probably be hard to catch the game anyways.
So if you’re still desperate for football and are interested in the race for NFL Draft position, we have your Week 15 rooting guide right here. The following are the games that matter most to the Detroit Lions and their eventual placement in the 2020 NFL Draft.
At the moment, the Lions currently hold the fifth overall spot with a 3-9-1 record. If everything goes their way, they could jump into the third pick by the end of the week. Take a look.
Who to root for: Bengals
The only way the Lions can still get the first overall pick is if the Bengals win out and the Lions lose out. That chance is likely to disappear this week, but hold your breath and say a praye... eh, nevermind. The Football Gods don’t listen to Lions fans.
Who to root for: Broncos
It’s unlikely the Broncos catch the Lions in draft order, but with the two teams still left to play each other, you never know. A Denver win this week would pretty much seal their slotting below Detroit.
Who to root for: Giants*
The Lions still have a very realistic chance at the second overall pick. They’ll need to gain two games on the Giants in three weeks, but New York still has winnable games against Washington and Philly on the schedule. It’s easy to see how they win at least one of those remaining games after this week.
As for the Dolphins taking a loss, they still have the Bengals on the schedule at home, and Detroit only needs them to win one more game to jump them if the Lions lose out. There’s a very realistic path where the Lions jump both of these teams with a Giants win this week.
That being said, either result helps the Lions. If you’re greedy, root for the Giants. If you want to just take what you can get, root for the Dolphins—a team the Lions could jump this week.
Eagles (6-7) at Washington (3-10)
Who to root for: Washington
Easy. Washington is one of four teams with a higher draft position than the Lions. A win shoots them down.
Who to root for: Panthers
Gives the Lions some breathing room if they decided to somehow go on a winning streak.
Who to root for: Jaguars
Most Lions fans are eyeing a jump up in the draft order, but it’s still very possible they drop down. That pesky tie will drop them below any other teams that finish with the same amount of wins, so it’d be nice to see some four-win teams pick up a victory this week.
Who to root for: Cardinals
This is a big one. The Lions need to get the Cardinals off their back. Detroit currently holds the tiebreaker due to a weaker strength of schedule, but Arizona remains the most likely team to jump Detroit right now, especially with their difficult schedule ahead (at Seahawks, at Rams).
Who to root for: Falcons
More wins for four-win teams please. C’mon, Matt Ryan. You still have something left in the tank.
If all these games go as hoped, here’s what the draft standings would look like, assuming a Lions loss to the Buccaneers. (Note: I am assuming all the tiebreakers stay the same.)
- Bengals: 2-12
- Giants: 3-11
- Dolphins: 3-11
- Lions: 3-10-1
- Washington: 4-10
- Cardinals: 4-9-1
- Jets: 5-9
- Jaguars: 5-9
- Falcons: 5-9
Of course, the Lions could move all the way up to the third pick this week if all of the outcomes are the same, but the Dolphins beat the Giants, instead. However, the above scenario gets the Lions into striking distance of the No. 2 (and, technically, No. 1) pick.