A Guide To Who To Root For Going Forward Into Week 14.
I doubted they could do it but they did do it, good job boys. I now have confidence that they can come away with at least one win between the Giants and Cowboys games. The win made certain the Lions maintained the #3 seed in the NFC. Were the season to end today, the Lions would face off against the Buccaneers, which is a favorable matchup for the us. Were we to win that game, we’d go on the road to face the Seahawks, which is not such a great matchup, but the Seahawks have some issues that the Lions could potentially exploit.
Speaking of the ‘Hawks’, they dominated the Panthers. So the Lions’ hopes of grabbing that #2 seed were dashed, but there is still a chance. Earl Thomas broke his leg, which is a big blow to their defense going forward. Conceivable they could drop a couple because of it.
The Packers, unfortunately, kept pace with the Lions by winning a tough game against the Texans in the snow. The conditions benefited the Packers, but they get that advantage in a lot of home games this time of year. Again, it’s good the Lions get them at home in week 17 in the event that that game might matter.
The Vikings were essentially knocked out of the division race with their loss to the Cowboys. With four weeks remaining, they’d have to win three more games than the Lions. A tough spot. We just have to hope they show up against the Packers in a few weeks.
The Falcons lost to the Chiefs, which gives the Lions a little breathing room for the #3 seed. The Lions currently hold the relevant conference record tie-breaker against both the Falcons and the Bucs, so they are in good position to maintain the #3 seed as long as they win a few more games.
Seahawks Over Packers
Honestly, at this point, this is a really tough decision to make. If the Packers were to win, and the Lions also beat the Bears, the Lions would claim the #2 seed in the NFC, which would be pretty sweet. That said, the Seahawks simply have the much easier schedule to finish off the season and are unlikely to drop any other games (I mean, they are division games and the NFCW plays tough in division games, but seriously, the Seahawks are so much better than the rest of the division).
Pragmatically, I’ll root for the Seahawks to take the wind out of the sails of the ‘Pack’ and give us a solid opportunity to shut the division race down early.
Jags over Vikings
The Vikings aren’t a huge threat right now, but one more loss for them would all but eliminate them from the division race. Right now, they would have to win three or four of their final four games to even have a remote chance. It’d just be nice to not have to worry about them going forward.
Saints Over Bucs
The Bucs have moved into a tie (they are behind in the tie-breakers) with the Falcons in the NFC South. That means they are potentially a threat to the Lions #3 seed. It’s nice we don’t have to focus too much on it, but if the Lions were to lose the division to the Packers they are still in command of a wild card position. Better to see the Bucs lose this one, although I have a hard time rooting against our former NFC Central bros.
Rams Over Falcons
The Falcons remaining schedule isn’t necessarily easy. They face two tough division games against the Panthers and Saints yet, but the Rams and 49ers aren’t likely to give them too many issues and they could easily find a way to regain ground in the NFC seeding. If they were to lose to the Rams, it would be a huge blow to their chances at that #3 seed.
Cowboys Over Giants
There is still a chance the Lions could contend with the Cowboys for a higher seed, but that chance is very slim. At this point, it would probably be best for the Lions if the Cowboys continued to win and locked up the #1 seed prior to us going down to Dallas in week 16. They aren’t likely to rest starters, per se, but it wouldn’t be surprising for them to play cautious with any players who are questionable at that point. They have quite a few guys dealing with minor stuff right now, and that could play significantly to our favor. In that situation, the cliché about who wants it more could actually mean something.
There really isn’t much else out there that is relevant. As long as we are looking at a likely division title, none of the strength of schedule tie-breakers are likely to be an issue. If things change, and they become relevant, I’ll add them back to future rooting guides. For the time being, it’s nice to not have to worry about a million different little things.
This week was great for the Lions, both in terms of winning the division, and because a few teams (Saints, Eagles, Redskins, Vikings) lost their footing on the wild card race. It’s really hard to see a situation at this point where the Lions don’t at least capture one of the NFC wild card positions.
We obviously have our sights set higher at this point, which uncomplicates a lot of the rooting guide situations. Another week and another win for the Lions would bring them within a hair’s breadth of clinching a playoff spot.
The Bears are not a good team, but as we saw in our first matchup, you still have to bring your A-game to beat them and this will be an emotion driven week for them.
Let’s start another long term win streak against the stupid Bears this week.