Team Tank accomplished their first goal of the season when the Detroit Lions decided to fire both head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn a couple days after the team’s embarrassing Thanksgiving loss to the Houston Texans. But Team Tank is hungry for a top-five draft pick, which remains well within the Lions’ reach with five games—most of them difficult—remaining on the schedule.
As of now, the Lions sit in the ninth position on draft order, but they could rise considerably by the end of this football week.
With that in mind, here are the teams you should be rooting for in Week 13 to help out the Lions draft order.
Saints (8-2) vs. Falcons (4-7) — 1 p.m. ET — FOX
Who to root for: Falcons
The Saints are almost mathematically impossible to catch for the Lions, and we all know it’s not going to happen. Meanwhile, the Falcons are just one spot below Detroit in draft order, so if they can pull of an in-division upset this week, it’ll give the Lions some breathing room.
Who to root for: Bengals
Cincinnati currently holds the third overall pick in the draft, and they’ll be tough to catch. However, they do have games remaining against the Cowboys and Texans, so if they were to get to 4.5 wins (tie is a half-win), they are catchable for Detroit.
Jaguars (1-10) vs. Vikings (5-6) — 1 p.m. ET — CBS
Who to root for: Vikings
I know this looks wrong, but the Lions aren’t catching the Jaguars. Those dreams of a top-two pick are about as likely as the Lions making a playoff run. The Jaguars have games remaining against Vikings, Titans, Ravens, Bears, and Colts. They need to win at least three of those games for Detroit to catch them. Ain’t happening.
So begrudgingly root for the Vikings to create a little more distance between them and Detroit. If you want to take this even further, a Vikings win puts them squarely in the playoff race, which could mean they have something to play for in Week 17 against the Lions (making a Lions loss more likely).
Raiders (6-5) vs. Jets (0-11) — 1 p.m. ET — CBS
Who to root for: Jets?
If we’re being completely honest, this one doesn’t matter. I suppose you can pretend the Jets are catchable, but they aren’t going to win four of their last five games. Meanwhile, you probably don’t have to worry about a huge Raiders collapse, as they still have the Chargers and Broncos on the schedule.
Colts (7-4) vs. Texans (4-7) — 1 p.m. ET — CBS
Who to root for: Texans
Easy one. Texans are currently 11th in draft order. A win would create some distance with a Lions loss to the Bears.
Rams (7-4) vs. Cardinals (6-5) — 4:05 p.m. ET — FOX
Who to root for: Cardinals
Detroit is likely safe from catching either of these teams, but if there’s a team that’s likely to slide in the final month in the season out of these two, it’s the Cardinals. They’ve lost three of their last four games.
Giants (4-7) vs. Seahawks (8-3) — 4:05 p.m. ET — FOX
Who to root for: Giants
You may think you’re a Lions fan, but you’re actually an NFC East fan now. Every team in that division is 4-7 or worse, which means they’re all threats to Detroit’s draft position. The Giants are technically division leaders right now, but that could easily change in the next few weeks.
Eagles (3-7-1) vs. Packers (8-3) — 4:25 p.m. ET — CBS
Who to root for: Eagles
I don’t think I need to convince you to root against the Packers, but NFC East over everything right now.
Patriots (5-6) vs. Chargers (3-8) — 4:25 p.m. ET — CBS
Who to root for: Chargers
The Chargers are the most likely team for the Lions to jump this week. While the Patriots are playing better football than earlier in the season, they are certainly beatable. However, even with a Chargers win, the Lions may not jump them due to Los Angeles’ easy strength of schedule.
Broncos (4-7) vs. Chiefs (10-1) — 8:20 p.m. ET — NBC
Who to root for: Broncos
Lions can’t mathematically catch the Chiefs, so this is a gimme.
Football Team (4-7) vs. Steelers (11-0) — 5 p.m. ET MONDAY — FOX
Who to root for: Football Team
NFC EAST IS THE BEST.
Who to root for: 49ers
Root for the 49ers, and root for Robert Saleh looking like a damn stud, then ripping open his shirt to reveal the Lions logo painted on his chest.
Cowboys (3-8) vs. Ravens (6-5) — 8:05 p.m. ET TUESDAY — FOX
Who to root for: Cowboys
If it all plays out like this...
If all of these scenarios play out perfectly, and the Lions lose to the Bears, here’s what the draft order would look like after Week 13.
Note: Tiebreakers are determined by Tankathon’s Strength of Schedule, which will obviously change after Week 13’s results.
- Jaguars: 1-11
- Jets: 1-11
- Bengals: 3-8-1
- Cowboys: 4-8 (.486 strength of schedule)
- Chargers: 4-8 (.492)
- Lions: 4-8 (.506)
- Panthers: 4-8 (.534)
- Eagles: 4-7-1
- Football Team: 5-7
- Falcons: 5-7
- Texans: 5-7
- Broncos: 5-7
- Patriots: 5-7
The Lions would be just outside the top five of draft order and less than a full game out of the top three. That would be quite the jump for Detroit, and with the next three games against the Packers, Titans and Buccaneers, they could certainly crack into that top three.
Of course, this scenario relies on a ton of Week 13 upsets, but why not dream big?