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Detroit Lions Week 17 rooting guide: Best outcomes for seeding

A look at how the Detroit Lions could still work their way into the first or second seed in the NFC playoff picture.

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

The Detroit Lions’ loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night makes their path to anything but the third overall seed unlikely. According to PFF’s model, the Lions now have a 94.3 percent chance of staying in that slot, with their odds at a second seed only at 5.6% and the remaining fraction of a percentage for the one seed.

But we here at Pride of Detroit never lose hope. So here are the best possible outcomes for the Lions’ playoff seeding for the NFL’s Week 17 slate of games.

Cardinals (3-12) vs. Eagles (11-4) — 1 p.m. ET — FOX

Root for: Cardinals

The Eagles currently have the edge over the Lions in three tiebreakers: conference record (7-3 vs. 7-4), common games (4-1 vs. 4-2), and strength of victory. The Lions can even out the first two with one remaining Eagles loss and Detroit win over the Vikings next week. That last tiebreaker is a little more tricky and complicated to flip in Detroit’s direction.

The simplest way for the Lions to jump the Eagles is for Philly to lose out and the Lions to win their one remaining game. Unfortunately, that also seems like the least likely, as the Eagles have the 3-12 Cardinals this week and 5-10 Giants next week.

49ers (11-4) vs. Commanders (4-11) — 1 p.m. ET — FOX

Root for: Commanders

Perhaps the best shot at Detroit grabbing the two seed is this: the Lions win vs. the Vikings and the 49ers lose each of their last two games. While San Francisco has been playing great football this year, that is not entirely impossible, particularly because they’ll have a difficult matchup against the Rams in Week 18. Unfortunately, though, the 49ers are 14-point favorites this week.

These are truly the only games that really matter, but if you want to get more specific, here are the games to root for in order to improve Detroit’s strength of victory over the Eagles to win that tiebreaker back.

To improve Lions’ strength of victory:

  • Vikings over Packers (Lions could double up on wins over the Packers, while they only have 1 win vs. Packers)
  • Bears/Falcons — doesn’t matter as Lions won 1 vs. both
  • Raiders over Colts
  • Saints over Buccaneers — Eagles played Bucs, so it would hurt their strength of victory. While Lions have beaten both)
  • Carolina over Jaguars
  • Chargers/Denver — doesn’t matter, Lions beat both

To hurt Eagles’ strength of victory:

  • Bills over Patriots
  • 49ers over Commanders — A 49ers loss is more important, but the Lions would get some benefit from a SF win.
  • Giants over Rams — This is kind of a push, but if the Eagles lose to the Giants in Week 18, it’s better if the Rams lose this week. Otherwise, flip ‘em.
  • Ravens over Dolphins

If these results play out, here’s what the top of the NFC playoff picture would look like:

  1. 49ers: 11-5
  2. Cowboys: 11-5
  3. Lions: 11-5
  4. Buccaneers: 8-7
  5. Eagles: 11-5

If those outcomes happen, the Lions would still be alive for the one seed, and all they would need to guarantee at least the second seed would be a Lions win over Minnesota—and a 49ers loss to the Rams.

So, let’s keep hope alive!

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