clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Detroit Lions Week 10 rooting guide: Best outcomes for NFC playoff race

A look at the best possible Week 10 outcomes for the Detroit Lions’ playoff odds

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Detroit Lions find themselves heading into Week 10’s slate of Sunday’s game as the No. 2 seed in the NFC, a comfortable and well-earned position after their 6-2 start.

But there is still a half-season to be played, and if there’s anything the Lions have taught us under Dan Campbell, it’s that things can look drastically different down the stretch. If the Lions want to stay in the conversation of the best team in the NFC and lock down their first home playoff game in Ford Field history, they’ll need to keep winning.

... but it would also help if some other teams lose.

So let’s look around the Week 10 slate and pick out which teams you should be rooting for to help the Lions’ playoff chances.

Most important games

Saints (5-4) at Vikings (5-4) — 1 p.m. ET — FOX

Root for: Saints

I know some of y’all don’t really want to admit it yet, but the Vikings are—at the very least—an average team. They’re currently 18th in DVOA, and with Justin Jefferson coming back soon, they’re still a dangerous team—particularly with the schedule they have remaining. Their offense will likely regress significantly under Josh Dobbs, but their defense is actually playing good football. So let’s just make absolutely certain Minnesota doesn’t make a fairy tale run at the division.

A Saints win would make the Wild Card a little tighter, but Detroit still has a healthy lead and can take care of the Saints themselves in a few weeks.

49ers (5-3) at Jaguars (6-2) — 1 p.m. ET — FOX

Root for: Jaguars

The Lions are in an awkward spot with the NFC West because the Seahawks hold the tiebreaker over them. So there is some motivation to have the 49ers win that division for seeding tiebreakers. But that’s overthinking it right now. Let’s just have all the true NFC contenders amass as many losses as possible.

Giants (2-7) at Cowboys (5-3)— 4:25 p.m. ET — FOX

Root for: Giants

This is probably not even worth putting the energy into, as the Cowboys are 17-point favorites over a decimated Giants squad. But, hey, that would make a loss even more devastating Cowboys team that is clearly playoff caliber in the NFC.

Commanders (4-5) at Seahawks (5-3) — 4:25 p.m. ET — FOX

Root for: Commanders

The Commanders will not be in the playoff picture come December, so a win that pushes them to .500 has no real impact on the Lions. On the other hand, a Seahawks loss would be huge, as Seattle holds the tiebreaker over Detroit, and a fall to the Commanders could send them reeling after getting thrashed by the Ravens last week.

FTP section

Packers (3-5) at Steelers (5-3) — 1 p.m. ET — CBS

Root for Steelers:

I know some are probably hoping the Packers win some meaningless games to screw over their own draft position, but not this guy. I enjoy watching the Packers lose too much and watching an extremely spoiled fanbase not know how to handle a bad team. Let the losses pile up.

For thoroughness

Falcons (4-5) at Cardinals (1-8) — 4:05 p.m. ET — CBS

Root for: Falcons

Nobody should be afraid of the Falcons, as they’re a team in disarray. So giving them a win is essentially harmless, even if it moves them to .500. Remember, the Lions thoroughly beat them and have that key head-to-head.

But why are we rooting for them this week? To keep the Bears out of the No. 1 pick. Chicago and Carolina are both vying for that top spot—and the Bears have both teams’ first-round picks. Meanwhile, it seems like the Cardinals are the only team standing between them and that pick, so let’s keep them there with another loss.

Titans (3-5) at Buccaneers (3-5) — 1 p.m. ET — CBS

Root for: Titans

AFC over NFC, even if the Bucs don’t post much of any threat to the Lions. Not only are they three games behind Detroit, but that doesn’t even account for the head-to-head tiebreaker the Lions have. Ultimately, this game doesn’t matter much at all, but it’s the final one involving an NFC team.

NFC North standings...

If Week 10 produces the above results—plus a Lions win over the Chargers—here’s what the divisional standings would look like:

  1. Lions: 7-2
  2. Vikings: 5-5
  3. Packers: 3-6
  4. Bears: 3-7

Detroit would then hold a 2.5-game lead over the Vikings while everyone else is at least four games behind. With only eight weeks remaining, that would essentially make it a two-team race—which it already kind of is anyway.

NFC Playoff picture

Here’s what the playoff picture would look like after these results:

Division leaders

  1. Eagles: 8-1
  2. Lions: 7-2
  3. Saints: 6-4
  4. 49ers: 5-4

Wild Card (top three advance)

  1. Seahawks: 5-4
  2. Cowboys: 5-4
  3. Vikings: 5-5
  4. Falcons: 5-5
  5. Commanders: 5-5
  6. Packers: 3-6
  7. Buccaneers: 3-6
  8. Rams: 3-6
  9. Giants: 3-7
  10. Bears: 3-7
  11. Panthers: 1-8
  12. Cardinals: 1-9

The Lions would create some distance among the division leaders with these results, and most importantly of all, they’d hold a two-game lead over the NFC West.

Regardless of the rest of the results, if the Lions can just manage to beat the Chargers this week, they’ll remain just a game behind the NFC’s top seed, as the Eagles are on a bye. It’s crazy we’re even talking about the No. 1 seed, but it remains a distinct possibility, especially with Philly’s tough schedule out of the bye week (@ Chiefs, vs. Bills, vs. 49ers, @ Cowboys, @ Seahawks).

Thanksgiving deal: Save 20% on PODD

What's more Lions than football on Thanksgiving!? To celebrate the holiday, use promo code GOLIONS20 to save 20% on your first year of Pride of Detroit Direct. Sign up today for exclusive game analysis, subscriber-only videos, and much more!