The Lions do not control their own destiny but their playoff chances are getting better after Sunday’s results. Despite officially losing the NFC North to the Vikings with their blowout of the Bengals in the afternoon, Detroit jumped Seattle in the NFC wild-card standings after the Seahawks’ 42-7 loss to the L.A. Rams later in the day.
The Lions are still behind both the Falcons and Panthers, but the Panthers clinched their 10th win today and have a head-to-head tiebreaker over Detroit. So the Falcons’ spot is the Lions’ only real chance of getting in at this point.
Fortunately, the Falcons play both the Saints and Panthers in two of their final three games, and the Lions need them to lose two of three to have a chance at jumping them.
Aaron Rodgers came back for the Packers but they still lost to the Panthers today, falling to 7-7 and likely out of the playoff picture. The Cowboys are still alive at 7-6, as they play the Raiders tonight on Sunday Night Football.
Detroit has roughly a 24% chance of making the playoffs according to the New York Times’ NFL Playoff Machine, but the Lions now know their one and only path to get there.
The only way the Lions can really make it is by taking care of business the way they did in yesterday’s 20-10 win over the Bears. There are two games left, but the team needs to take it one game at a time.
Coach Caldwell will have them focused on the Bengals, but fans just want to know there’s a chance. Right now, the Lions are very much alive with two games remaining.