Even after a disappointing performance in Dallas on Monday, the Detroit Lions are still projected to return to the NFC Playoffs for the first time since 2014. With a win over the Packers in the Week 17 finale, the Lions would win the NFC North- their first division title since 1993.
If they lose in Green Bay, however, their playoff status could be in doubt. Washington is also making a late playoff push, and they could replace Detroit in the bracket altogether if they beat the Giants before a potential Lions loss.
Here’s how the Lions fit heading into the final Sunday:
The Division Leaders:
1. Dallas Cowboys — 13-2
2. Atlanta Falcons — 10-5
3. Seattle Seahawks — 9-5-1
4. Green Bay Packers — 9-6
The Wild Card Contenders:
5. New York Giants — 10-5
6. Detroit Lions — 9-6
7. Washington Redskins — 8-6-1
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — 8-7
9. Minnesota Vikings — 7-8
***The Cowboys have clinched home-field advantage and NFC East
**The Seahawks have clinched the NFC West
**The Falcons have clinched the NFC South
*The Giants have clinched a Wild Card spot
Potential Wild Card Matchups:
Lions at Seahawks
Giants at Packers
For a full list of NFL tiebreaking procedures, click here.
Current position: 4th in NFC, Tied with Packers in NFC North
Remaining schedule: vs. Packers (9-6)
Let’s do this in chronological order. If Washington loses to the Giants in the early slate of games, the Lions will clinch a playoff berth. Washington is a seven-point home favorite, and the Giants have already clinched a playoff berth. A win won’t change anything for the Giants, but it would end the season of a division rival. According to head coach Ben McAdoo, the Giants have no plans to rest their starters.
Beating Green Bay:
This is what it all comes down to. The Lions are hosting the hottest team in the NFL, one of their most hated rivals, with a chance to take the Division for the first time in over 20 years. The Packers are listed as a 3.5-point favorite according to OddsShark.com, and have won three of the last five meetings. The Lions did beat the Packers at Ford Field in both 2013 and 2014, including a 40-10 win on Thanksgiving in 2013.
Most Likely Scenario:
Based on Monday night’s performance, I’d be nervous rooting for the Lions this week. But they’ve been in tight situations all season, so it makes sense that even their playoff chances would come down to the last minute. The Giants take care of Washington, and the Lions enter as a Wild Card team after losing to Green Bay.