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NFL playoff odds: Impact of Detroit Lions’ Thanksgiving loss

The Detroit Lions picked up a bad loss on Thanksgiving. Let’s look at how that impacted the NFC Playoff Picture and odds.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions picked up an inexcusable loss to the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving. They were the healthier, more talented team, but the Packers dominated the play for the entire game, and the final score of 29-22 was not indicative of how poorly the Lions played.

But as is the case every week, it’s just one game. The Lions are still 8-3 for the season and control their destiny in several ways for the NFC Playoff race. Here’s a look at the playoff picture after all of the Thursday and Friday games this week.

NFC playoff picture

  1. Eagles: 9-1
  2. 49ers: 8-3
  3. Lions: 8-3
  4. Saints: 5-5

Wild Card race:

5. Cowboys: 8-3
6. Vikings: 6-5
7. Seahawks: 6-5

In the hunt:

8. Packers: 5-6
9. 4 teams tied at 4-6 (Rams, Falcons, Bucs, Commanders)

The Lions dropped a seed with a loss and a 49ers win*, but they still hold a strong two-game lead in the division with only six games remaining.

So how does that impact their overall odds of making the playoffs, winning the division, and making a run at a title? Let’s take a closer look.

*Note: the 49ers jump the Lions because of conference record tiebreakers. The 49ers are 6-1 in conference play. The Lions are 5-2.

To take a look at each source of playoff probabilities, click the following links:

Playoff odds

DVOA: 98.3% (-1.2%%)
NYT: 99% (removed a greater than symbol)
PlayoffStatus.com: 97% (-2%)

Odds are still heavily in the Lions’ favor to make the postseason, as they have a three-game lead over the Packers, and a four-game lead over the rest of the teams on the outside looking in. In other words, unless one of those teams runs the table, the Lions could go 3-3 or even 2-4 down the stretch and have a pretty good chance of still making the playoffs.

NFC North odds:

DVOA: 83.8% (-8.6%)
NYT: 89% (-5%)
PlayoffStatus.com: 78% (-12%)

The Lions’ divisional odds took a pretty big hit this week, as they squandered an opportunity to keep building their lead over the Minnesota Vikings. While the Packers still have an outside chance at the division (1.8%, per DVOA), the Vikings are the true competition—as they have two games remaining against Detroit. This week, the Vikings could come within 1.5 games of Detroit with a win over the Bears on Monday night at home. If Minnesota loses, however, the Lions’ NFC North title odds jump back up to 94%, according to the New York Times’ model.

NFC No. 1 seed odds:

DVOA: 4.7.% (-12.8%)
NYT: 3% (-7%)
PlayoffStatus.com: 3% (-9%)

The Lions’ odds at the top seed have all but disappeared after their disappointing loss. With the 49ers now jumping them in the standings, the Lions would have to jump two teams to earn the first-round bye. And while the Eagles have a tough schedule, they’ve already taken down some good teams lately. Meanwhile, the 49ers’ schedule is far less daunting (Eagles, Seahawks, Cardinals, Ravens, Commanders, Rams). That said, next week’s 49ers vs. Eagles game should help Detroit’s chances to regain the No. 1 seed no matter the outcome.

Super Bowl champion odds:

DVOA: 5.3% (-3.3%)
NYT: 6% (-1%)
PlayoffStatus.com: 6% (-5%)

Detroit currently has the sixth-highest Super Bowl champion odds by DVOA, sixth by the New York Times, and eighth by PlayoffStatus.com.

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