Detroit Lions playoff scenarios reveal a wide range of possible finishes for the team this season. The Lions could finish as high as the No. 2 seed in the playoff brackets or miss the 2017 NFL Playoffs entirely. A look at the updated NFL standings shows how the Lions have moved up to the No. 3 seed in the NFC after the Seattle Seahawks lost to the Arizona Cardinals. The Lions are at 9-5 and just behind the Atlanta Falcons (10-5) for the No. 2 seed. The Dallas Cowboys already clinched the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the NFC Playoffs.
With a win or a tie against the Cowboys on Monday (Dec. 26), the Lions would clinch a spot in the postseason. A loss against the Cowboys and then things could get a bit tricky. Losing to the Cowboys would drop the Lions to No. 4 and bump the Seahawks back into the No. 3 slot. It would then put added pressure on the Week 17 game against the Green Bay Packers. That’s not what Lions fans want to hear, as their team has to play against former MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Another important point within the Detroit Lions playoff scenarios is that the game against the Packers will decide which team wins the NFC North. The Packers beat the Lions back in Week 3, taking an edge in the head-to-head tiebreaker. Even if the Lions beat the Cowboys in Week 16, the team would then need to beat the Packers to finish 11-5 and win the divisional title. It’s a tough task for any team to win against Green Bay, but now the season could be on the line.
If the Lions can beat either the Cowboys or the Packers, then the team will qualify for the 2017 NFL Playoffs. Beating the Packers in Week 17 will win the division, no matter how the game against the Cowboys turns out. If the Lions can win both games and have the Atlanta Falcons lose to the New Orleans Saints in Week 17, then the first-round bye and No. 2 seed will reside with Detroit. That would allow a week of rest and the ability to skip playing during Wild Card Weekend. Doing so would mean it takes one less victory to get all the way to the Super Bowl.
There are also some negative Detroit Lions playoff scenarios, where the team could miss the NFL Playoffs by losing to the Cowboys and Packers. Falling to 9-7 on the season would put the team at risk of being passed by the Washington Redskins. At 8-6-1 on the season, the Redskins are just outside of the playoff picture in the NFC. In Week 17 Washington has a game against the New York Giants and an opportunity to finish the regular season at 9-6-1. That alone is a reason for Lions fans to cheer for the Giants in the final game.
If the Lions lose to the Cowboys and Packers, while the Redskins beat the Giants, then the Lions miss the playoffs and the Redskins clinch the second NFC Wild Card spot. Alternatively, as long as the Redskins lose to the Giants, the Lions would clinch a playoff spot no matter how they do in their final two games. This gives the Lions great odds to make the postseason, but it would certainly be an easier route to just take matters into their own hands.
To recap everything, all the Lions need to do is beat or tie the Cowboys or Packers to wrap up the season. That puts the team into the playoffs, with the seeding determined by how several other teams perform. If the Lions lose both games and the Redskins beat the Giants, then Detroit won’t make it to the postseason. No matter how the Cowboys game turns out, the NFC North will be decided by the Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions in Week 17.
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