How Could The Lions Clinch Playoffs This Week?
It’s time to seriously consider the road forward. The Lions are sitting at 9-5 with two games remaining. With a dominant grasp on the NFC North, sitting as the fourth seed in their conference and the potential of a playoff run looming very large. With games against Dallas, and Green Bay remaining I’ll profile the playoff scenarios remaining so you can know just where the Lions stand and what they need for the best possible playoff spot.
Last week’s game while not crucial was certainly an important statement game for the under appreciated Detroit Lions, and they failed to make the impact that they had hoped going in. Now the Lions turn to Dallas to face the first place Cowboys in prime time where their hopes for continuing the season nobody thought they could have are all dumped in. With that, I’m sure most fans are aware at this point, however to recap these are the week’s clinching scenarios for the Lions:
DETROIT CLINCHES DIVISION with a win at Dallas AND Minnesota beats Green Bay
DETROIT CLINCHES PLAYOFFS with a win at Dallas AND New Orleans beats Tampa Bay *OR* Washington and Tampa Bay lose AND Atlanta wins.
These circumstances are pretty straight forward. If Detroit wins both against Dallas and Green Bay they are guaranteed the division, with a very slim but still present shot at a first round bye. If they go 1-1 with the win coming vs. Green Bay then the Lions are still guaranteed the division, and will more likely then not end up the 4th seed at 10-6.
If they go 1-1 with the win coming at Dallas, then barring a loss by Green Bay to Minnesota, the Lions will lose their spot at the front of the division. At 10-6 though it would be hard to see them not getting the 6th seed wild card position and remaining in a playoff spot. If they lose out and finish 9-7 there is no chance of retaining the division lead and while there is still an outside chance at a wild card spot, it is doubtful with Tampa sitting at 8 wins and Washington with 7 but one less loss and a tie.
The Lions have fought their way into playoff consideration but thanks to a couple of weak losses earlier in the season, they now have to prove their worth against tougher competition. If they can find a way to pull these games out without several huge contributors, Darius Slay, Theo Riddick, and Travis Swanson, they will not only have proved their talent to the rest of the league, but will have given the city of Detroit a cherry on top of one of its better football stories in an era that has been far from kind.