clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Detroit Lions Week 12 rooting guide: How Lions playoff odds can bounce back

A look at the best possible Week 12 outcomes for the Detroit Lions’ playoff odds and NFC North chances.

NFL: NOV 19 Bears at Lions Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Detroit Lions saw their NFC North divisional odds take a pretty significant dip this week after dropping their Thanksgiving Day game to the Green Bay Packers. However, they’re still 8-3 on the season and in a pretty darn good situation when it comes to the NFC Playoff picture. By the end of the week, they could be in an even better situation.

Here’s a look at the best possible outcomes for the Lions’ playoff chances. We will be ignoring games that are irrelevant to their postseason odds.

Saints (5-5) at Falcons (4-6) — 1 p.m. ET — FOX

Root for: Falcons

While a Falcons win would add a win for a team currently on the outside of the playoff picture, the Falcons don’t pose much of a threat to Detroit. Their best possible record is 11-6, and if Detroit finished with that same record (by going 3-3 down the stretch), they would still get in over Atlanta due to their head-to-head win.

The Saints could theoretically jump the Lions in seeding, particularly if New Orleans wins this game and against Detroit next week.

Buccaneers (4-6) at Colts (5-5) — 1 p.m. ET — CBS

Root for: Colts

This game doesn’t matter much, but for thoroughness, AFC over NFC>

Rams (4-6) at Cardinals (2-9) — 4:05 p.m. ET — FOX

Root for: Cardinals

I’m sure most of you don’t want the Cardinals to win because it could improve the Bears’ draft position, but this is solely focused on playoff odds. The Rams are long-shots to make the postseason (15% per NYT). With a loss, that drops to six percent.

Bills (6-5) at Eagles (9-1) — 4:25 p.m. ET — CBS

Root for: Bills

As we pointed out earlier in the week, the Lions’ shot at the NFC’s top seed has pretty much evaporated, but an Eagles loss here would revitalize those odds a bit. Per NYT, this outcome alone would push Detroit’s chances at a No. 1 seed from three percent to six percent. Okay, so it’s still a long shot, but every percentage counts.

Bears (3-8) at Vikings (6-5) — Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET — ABC/ESPN

Root for: Bears

Unsurprisingly, this is the most important outcome of the week. Detroit’s loss to the Packers has some wondering if the Lions could collapse and lose their firm grasp of the division. A Vikings loss would ease a lot of those concerns. Per NYT, Detroit’s current odds to win the division (89%) would jump to 93% with a Vikings loss.

If these games play out this way, here’s what the NFC playoff picture would look like, starting with the NFC North:

  1. Lions: 8-3
  2. Vikings: 6-6
  3. Packers: 5-6
  4. Bears: 4-8

The Lions would be back to a comfortable 2.5-game lead over the Vikings and a three-game lead over the Packers. In case you’re wondering who would have the tiebreaker between the Lions and Packers (since they split their head-to-head), as it stands the Lions would have the advantage, as they currently have the better divisional record (2-1) than the Packers (2-2). That obviously could still change.

NFC playoff picture (if the above results happen)

  1. Eagles: 9-2
  2. 49ers: 8-3
  3. Lions: 8-3
  4. Falcons: 5-6

Wild card picture (top three advance)

  1. Cowboys: 8-3
  2. Seahawks: 6-5
  3. Vikings: 6-6
  4. Packers: 5-6
  5. Saints: 5-6
  6. Rams: 4-7
  7. Buccaneers: 4-7
  8. Bears: 4-8
  9. Commanders: 4-8

The Lions would hold the three seed, losing the conference record tiebreaker to the 49ers, but they’d only be a single game behind the Eagles (who would also hold the tiebreaker over Detroit).

Overall, the Lions hold a three-game lead over teams on the outside looking in, and their schedule still looks pretty favorable. The final count on playoff odds, according to the NYT playoff simulator would be as follows:

  • Odds to make playoffs: 99%
  • Odds to win NFC North: 93%
  • Odds to earn No. 1 seed: 6%

Subscribe to PODD

After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.