Lions’ Week 17 Playoff Rooting Guide: Trio That Must Win for Detroit

Nick Chubb

Getty Nick Chubb runs the ball for the Browns in a 2022 game in Cleveland.

The Detroit Lions didn’t handle their business in Week 16 with their backs against the wall, but the great news is, the team still has an open path to the playoffs.

Detroit wasn’t eliminated from the postseason with the 37-23 defeat against the Carolina Panthers, but their postseason path got a bit more narrow. With their odds now hovering at around 24%, they will need to win out and get help to make it.

9-8 might get the Lions into the playoffs, but they will need plenty of help around them now, while handing their own business. There is no longer any margin of error at all for the Lions, so their best way into the playoffs is simply to win both of their games, no questions asked.

In spite of Detroit’s own goal, the team must be looking for help too. Given how the schedule goes, that means they need to be the biggest fans of the Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets this particular week.

Here’s a closer look at why that is the case.

Lions’ Biggest Postseason Competition is Washington

At this point, Detroit’s biggest competition ahead of them in the standings is the Washington Commanders. At 7-7-1, the Commanders are clinging to NFC playoff life, but could soon be on the outside looking in with another loss.

The Lions need a 1-1 record out of the Commanders over the final two weeks of the season in order to help them out. That means they will need Washington to drop just one game against either Cleveland or Dallas in order to help this along.

Detroit could still get some help with the Giants falling apart, but the reality is, they could be looking like a better bet for a wild card spot every week that passes. A home game against the Colts could provide them nine wins, and a likely postseason birth.

With this in mind, the Lions need to hone in on the Commanders, who have been shaky at times this season and remain an up and down team. Their best hopes at making the playoffs involve them falling apart down the stretch.

Key Week 17 Games for Lions’ Playoff Push

The Lions themselves have a big challenge against the Bears that they must win, but as pointed out, the team will need some help.

The Commanders will tangle with the Cleveland Browns, and the Lions will want to see Cleveland score a major road win to damage Washington’s chances. They finish with the 49ers, Browns and Cowboys. New York, meanwhile, could lock themselves in given they play Indianapolis, who has been dreadful this year.

In Seattle, the Lions will want to see the New York Jets find a way to score an important road win against a fellow 7-8 team that is clinging to life themselves. A win by the Jets would get the Lions some breathing room around them providing they win.

Additionally, with the Packers lurking, the Lions want to see the Vikings find a way to score a big win in order to help eliminate some of the competition around them in the standings.

This week, the Lions will be scoreboard-watching and trying to handle business in Week 17. They’ve still got a chance, which is everything a team can ask for this time of year.

Given they started the season 1-6, the fact this is the case is nothing short of amazing, no matter how the season may end when all is said and done.

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