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Every possible Wild Card opponent, scenario for Detroit Lions

A look at every possible NFL playoff scenario for Week 18 impacting the Detroit Lions and their first-round opponent.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions are headed for the playoffs, and they’ll be hosting a Wild Card matchup in Ford Field for the first time in team history.

Statistically speaking, they are almost certainly going to be the NFC’s three seed, which means either facing the Los Angeles Rams or Green Bay Packers in the opening round. But the NFL is unpredictable, and weird things happen in Week 18.

In total, there are five different teams the Lions can still face in the Wild Card round of the 2024 playoffs. So let’s go over every possible scenario and every possible Detroit Lions playoff opponent.

First, let’s start with the more unlikely scenario: the Lions earning the NFC’s two seed.

[Editor’s note: Tie scenarios were not included with an exception for one—because it’s the only way the Lions would face the Buccaneers]

How the Lions can earn the NFC 2 seed

Detroit needs all three of these outcomes to happen.

  • Lions beat Vikings AND
  • Commanders beat Cowboys AND
  • Giants beat Eagles

If this happens, the Lions can face FIVE different opponents. Here are all of those scenarios:

Opponent 1: Rams

  • Lions earn NFC 2 seed
  • 49ers beat Rams
  • Packers beat Bears

Opponent 2: Packers

1.

  • Lions earn NFC 2 seed
  • Rams beat 49ers
  • Packers beat Bears

OR

2.

  • Lions earn NFC 2 seed
  • Cardinals beat Seahawks
  • Panthers beat Buccaneers or Falcons beat Saints
  • Rams beat 49ers or Bears beat Packers

Opponent 3: Seahawks:

  • Lions earn NFC 2 seed
  • Seahawks beat Cardinals
  • Bears beat Packers

Opponent 4: Saints:

  • Lions earn NFC 2 seed
  • Saints beat Falcons
  • Cardinals beat Seahawks
  • Bears beat Packers
  • Buccaneers beat Panthers

Opponent 5: Buccaneers:

  • Lions earn NFC 2 seed
  • Buccaneers tie Panthers
  • Cardinals beat Seahawks
  • Bears beat Packers
  • Saints beat Falcons

There are three different ways the Lions will finish with the three seed, they are:

How the Lions can earn the NFC 3 seed

  1. Vikings beat Lions OR
  2. Cowboys beat Commanders OR
  3. Eagles beat Giants

In this scenario, the Lions can only face the Packers or Rams. Here are those scenarios:

Rams:

1.

  • Lions earn NFC 3 seed
  • Rams beat 49ers

OR

2.

  • Lions earn NFC 3 seed
  • Bears beat Packers

Packers if:

  • Lions earn NFC 3 seed
  • 49ers beat Rams
  • Packers beat Bears

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