NFC playoff picture: The Detroit Lions are just 1.5 games out of a Wild Card spot

NFC playoff picture: The Detroit Lions are just 1.5 games out of a Wild Card spot

NFC playoff picture: The Detroit Lions are just 1.5 games out of a Wild Card spot

After winning three games in a row, The Detroit Lions They’ve gone from being a legitimate candidate for the No. 1 overall pick in 2023 The NFL Draft To the less crazy Wild Card contestant. For the past couple of weeks, we’ve toyed with the idea, mostly in jest or at least admitting that the odds are very long.

But with a lousy NFC team and a Lions team playing football right now, that’s no joke. And if all goes as expected on “Monday Night Football,” the Lions could find themselves just 1.5 games out of a playoff spot with half a season of football to go.

Here’s a look at the updated playoff picture through Week 11 (including Monday Night Football)

Heads of Division:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (8-2)
  3. Seattle Seahawks (6-4)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5)

Wild Card race (top three earn a playoff spot)

  1. Dallas Cowboys (7-3)
  2. New York Giants (7-3)
  3. San Francisco 49ers (5-4)
  4. Washington Commanders (6-5)
  5. Atlanta Falcons (5-6)
  6. Detroit Lions (4-6)
  7. Arizona Cardinals (4-6)

There are only three teams standing between the Lions and a playoff spot as things currently stand. If the 49ers lose to the Cardinals on Monday night, the Lions will drop one spot in the standings, but fall 1.5 games out of the final Wild Card spot, trailing the 6-5 Commanders.

But here’s the thing: The Lions are tied over the Commanders after their Week 2 win. They also have a tie over the Giants, should New York fall the rest of the way. Among the Wild Card contenders, only the Cowboys have a head-to-head tie against the Lions after beating Detroit in Week 7.

The Lions are also in pretty good form when it comes to other draws. For teams that haven’t played a head-to-head game, the first tie is a conference record. Here’s where the seven Wild Card teams stand in the division records:

  1. Cowboys: 6-3
  2. 49ers: 4-2
  3. Lions: 4-4
  4. Falcons: 4-4
  5. Giants: 3-3
  6. Commanders: 3-4
  7. Cardinals: 3-5

Detroit probably won’t catch the Cowboys, both because they’re probably the most legitimate Wild Card and because they have Detroit’s top tiebreaker. It might hurt, but it’s in Detroit’s best interest to keep winning, especially in the upcoming divisional games against the Giants and Commanders — two teams they’ve already beaten once.

Let’s take a quick look at the division race while we’re at it:

  1. Minnesota Vikings (8-2)
  2. Detroit Lions (4-6)
  3. Green Bay Packers (4-7)
  4. Chicago Bears (3-8)

The Lions are four games ahead of the Vikings with seven games to play, and Minnesota is currently tied with Detroit. Of course, the Lions can tie that tie and cut into the lead with a head-to-head matchup left, but the NFC North already appears to be set. The Vikes still have games against the Colts, Bears and Packers, though both of those divisional games are on the road. However, it would take an epic upset for Minnesota to lose the division.

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