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Detroit Lions Week 14 rooting guide: Best outcomes for playoff odds, draft order

Breaking down the best possible Week 14 outcomes for the Detroit Lions’ playoff odds and draft position.

NFL: NOV 06 Packers at Lions Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s a weird and awesome time to be a Detroit Lions fan. Not only is it a rare December in which we can talk about playoff odds—even if they remain long—but the draftniks among us can also dream of a top-five draft pick thanks to the Los Angeles Rams’ struggles (Baker Mayfielding aside).

Last week wasn’t a particularly great week for the Rooting Guide, and after the Rams pulled off an improbable comeback on Thursday, this week isn’t off to a great start either. The good news is the Lions are winning, and that’s primarily what needs to continue to happen for Detroit to get a shot at the postseason.

So without further ado, here is our Week 14 Detroit Lions rooting guide, starting with the best outcomes for Detroit’s playoff run.

Who to root for to help Lions playoff chances

Here’s at the current NFC playoff picture:

Division leaders:

  1. Eagles: 11-1
  2. Vikings: 10-2
  3. 49ers: 8-4
  4. Buccaneers: 6-6

Wild Card race (top three advance)

  1. Cowboys: 9-3
  2. Giants: 7-4-1
  3. Seahawks: 7-5
  4. Commanders: 7-5-1
  5. Lions: 5-7
  6. Falcons: 5-8
  7. Packers: 5-8

Three of the teams in the Wild Card hunt—Falcons, Packers and Commanders—are all on byes this week, so don’t expect a ton of movement. That being said, let’s look at the four most important games this week.

Critical games

Eagles vs. Giants — 1 p.m. ET — FOX

Who to root for: Eagles

Given their daunting schedule and current downslide (one win in past five games), the Giants seem like one of the most likely teams the Lions jump in order to find a playoff spot. You’re basically rooting for the Giants to lose as many of their final five games as possible. Hopefully the Eagles take care of business this week as 7.5-point road favorites.

Panthers vs. Seahawks — 4:25 p.m. ET — FOX

Who to root for: Panthers

Seattle has the tiebreaker of the Lions, so it would take a lot for Detroit to jump them, but if they overlook Carolina and drop this game, suddenly the path looks much more likely. The Panthers still have remaining games against the 49ers, Chiefs and Jets, so it’s entirely possible a loss this week sends them on a late-season slide. However, Seattle is a 4-point favorite.

Eh, may as well root for it, but it probably doesn’t matter

Texans vs. Cowboys — 1 p.m. ET — FOX

Who to root for: Texans

With a single win the rest of the regular season, the Cowboys basically become uncatchable for the Lions, but since it’s easy to root against Dallas and it helps draft position, may as well hope the Texans pull a miracle.

Buccaneers at 49ers — 4:25 p.m. ET — FOX

Who to root for: Buccaneers

These are two division leaders, so this game is almost irrelevant for the Lions. However the NFC South is no real threat to Detroit. They won’t produce a Wild Card team. However, it’s entirely possible the Seahawks win the NFC West, meaning Detroit would compete with the 49ers for a Wild Card spot. It seems unlikely San Francisco loses enough games for Detroit to jump them—even with Jimmy Garoppolo out for the rest of the year—but why not give the Lions more options?

If all of these options fall the Lions’ way, plus Detroit takes care of business over the Minnesota Vikings, here’s what the NFC playoff picture would look like heading into Week 15:

  1. Eagles: 12-1
  2. Vikings: 10-3
  3. 49ers: 8-5
  4. Buccaneers: 7-6

Wild Card race (top three advance)

  1. Cowboys: 9-4
  2. Commanders: 7-5-1
  3. Giants: 7-5-1
  4. Seahawks: 7-6
  5. Lions: 6-7
  6. Falcons: 5-8
  7. Packers: 5-8
  8. Panthers: 5-8

The Lions would find themselves 1.5 games out of the playoff spot with two teams to jump. That would put them in a position to make a big move in Week 14. The Giants and Commanders play each other next week, while the Seahawks have a tough matchup against the 49ers. That means Detroit has a serious chance to gain a full game on two teams above them right now if the Lions go on the road and beat the Jets next week.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet. A lot of things need to go right first.

Now, let’s move to the draft position race. After Baker Mayfield was a total jerk on Thursday night, the Lions’ pick—via the Rams—is now in danger of falling out of the top five. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.

Who to root for to help Lions draft position:

Note: I am only including games that impact the Lions’ pick via the Rams, since most of us are rooting for the Lions to still win—and therefore the draft position of Detroit’s original pick is not our main priority.

  • Texans (1-10-1) over Cowboys (9-2)
  • Jaguars (4-8) over Titans (7-5)
  • Broncos (3-9) over Chiefs (9-3)
  • Panthers (4-8) over Seahawks (7-5)
  • Cardinals (4-8) over Patriots (6-6)

If these games all play out like this, here is how the draft order would look after Week 15. I am assuming strength of schedule doesn’t change enough to swap any tiebreakers.

  1. Texans: 2-10-1
  2. Bears: 3-10
  3. Seahawks (via Broncos): 4-9
  4. Rams: 4-9
  5. Eagles (via Saints): 4-9
  6. Colts: 4-8-1
  7. Raiders: 5-8
  8. Falcons: 5-8
  9. Panthers: 5-8
  10. Jaguars: 5-8
  11. Cardinals: 5-8
  12. Packers: 5-8

It’s still not an ideal situation, with so many five win teams within striking distance of the Rams if Los Angeles wins another game. But it’s also important to note that the Rams’ current strength of schedule (.495) is on the easier end of the spectrum, which could push them up on the draft order when it comes to tiebreakers.

Here’s a reminder of what the Rams’ schedule looks like in the final four games of the season:

  • at Packers (5-8)
  • vs. Broncos (3-9)
  • at Chargers (6-6)
  • at Seahawks (7-5)

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