The Detroit Lions finally got some help within the NFC North this week, when the Minnesota Vikings lost to the Denver Broncos on a last-minute touchdown. The Vikings had previously won five games in a row, so while the Lions were continuing to win, they weren’t truly creating any distance in the division until this week.
Now Detroit has a comfortable 2.5-game lead over Minnesota, and even though both Lions/Vikings head-to-head games have yet to be played, that’s a pretty comfortable spot to be in with only seven weeks remaining in the regular season.
Let’s take a closer look at the Lions’ playoff odds and how they have changed after Week 11 in the NFL.
To take a look at each source of playoff probabilities, click the following links:
DVOA: 99.5% (+0.2%)
NYT: >99% (added a greater than symbol)
PlayoffStatus.com: 99% (no change)
The Lions’ playoff odds remain astronomic. As of right now, the final playoff spot is held by the Vikings at 6-5, meaning Detroit would have to be surpassed by one of the four 4-6 teams (Packers, Rams, Falcons, Buccaneers) to lose a playoff spot, and the Lions currently hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over three of those teams. So Detroit would not only have to lose at least four of their last seven games, but they’d have to fall on some bad luck, too.
NFC North odds:
DVOA: 92.4% (+2.1%)
NYT: 94% (+8%)
PlayoffStatus.com: 90% (+7%)
The Lions see the biggest movement here after not only beating the Bears, but the Vikings losing to the Broncos. Minnesota still has a 7.2% chance to win the division, per DVOA odds, but they’ll almost certainly have to sweep Detroit in their two remaining head-to-head matchups.
NFC No. 1 seed odds:
DVOA: 17.5% (-8.4%)
NYT: 10% (-4%)
PlayoffStatus.com: 12% (-6%)
Thanks to those pesky Philadelphia Eagles and their big win over the Chiefs, the Lions’ odds as the top seed in the NFC dropped significantly this week. The biggest drop happened in DVOA—where the Lions had the highest probability last week. That’s because Philly is continually climbing DVOA rankings, while the Lions are starting to regress there.
Don’t sleep on the 49ers, either. They actually have better odds to win the No. 1 seed in two of the three playoff models.
49ers odds at NFC 1-seed:
Super Bowl champion odds:
DVOA: 8.6% (-2.7%)
NYT: 7% (-1%)
PlayoffStatus.com: 11% (-1%)
The Lions see a little dip here, likely due to their uninspiring performance. But, also, other Super Bowl candidates had strong outings in Week 11. The 49ers, Ravens, and Cowboys picked up decisive wins, while the Eagles’ statement win also helped their title odds.