Other than tonight's Monday Night Football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Houston Texans, Week 12 is in the books and the NFL Playoff picture is becoming more clear.
Of course, for the Detroit Lions (6-5) and their fans, only the NFC really matters, and at this point, they are on the outside looking in.
Here are the NFC standings through Week 12.
As you can see, the Lions currently sit at the No. 8 spot in the NFC, two places below where they must get to earn a Wild Card berth. So, how can the Lions move up and grab the No. 6 spot before the season ends? It's quite simple, actually.
First, it's likely they will have to win their remaining five games to get to 11-5. Could the Lions wiggle their way into the playoffs with a 10-6 record? It's possible but highly improbable at this point.
It all starts on Dec. 3 when they travel to Baltimore to take on a Ravens team who will be on a short week after having to play on Monday Night Football. In addition to the Ravens having a short week, the Lions will have had extra time to prepare and get rested after playing on Thanksgiving Day.
If Detroit can go into Baltimore and take care of business, they have a legitimate shot of running the table for the remainder of the regular season, putting themselves in position to claim a Wild Card spot in the NFC. But as we know, nothing ever seems to go as planned for the Lions.
Lions remaining schedule
But, regardless of what the Lions do from here on out, they will need help from a couple of teams ahead of them in the standings.
Here are two teams the Detroit Lions and their fans should be rooting HARD against for the remainder of the 2017 regular season.
Atlanta Falcons (7-4)
Remember back in Week 3 when the Lions suffered a heartbreaking 30-26 loss to the Atlanta Falcons? You know, the one where Golden Tate's would-be go-ahead touchdown was called back and a 10-second runoff was enforced, ending the game? Well, predictably, that loss is one that could end up costing the Lions a playoff spot.
Not only are the Lions a game behind the Falcons in the standings, but since Atlanta holds the head-to-head tiebreaker, Detroit is essentially two games behind.
Luckily, for the Lions sake, the Falcons remaining schedule is EXTREMELY difficult and it would not be surprising to see them lose 3 of their 5 remaining games.
Root against the Falcons!
Seattle Seahawks (7-4)
The Seattle Seahawks also have a one-game lead over the Lions in the NFC but they do not own a head-to-head tiebreaker since the two teams have not played each other.
That being said, for the Lions to pass the Seahawks in the standings, they will need them to drop a couple of games. If both teams were to end up tied at the end of the season, the tie-breaker would come down to whichever team has the best winning percentage against NFC teams. (Seattle is currently 5-3 and Detroit is 5-4).
Like the Falcons, the Seahawks also have a difficult down the stretch, including games against the Eagles (10-1), Jaguars (7-4), and Rams (8-3).
Root against the Seahawks!
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is simple. If the Detroit Lions want to qualify for the 2017 NFL Playoffs THEY are going to have to earn it. By “earn it” I mean the Lions are going to have to run the table over their final five regular season games. If they are unable to do so and finish 10-6, they will have to hope BOTH the Falcons and Seahawks both struggle to the finish line. That is something we would rather not count on happening.
According to FiveThirtyEight, the Lions only have a 23% chance of making the playoffs this season. In comparison, the Falcons have a 65% chance while the Seahawks have a 61% chance.
Nation, no matter how you look at it, the Detroit Lions have their work cut out for them with just five games remaining in the regular season.
Now that we think about it, that's pretty much what we expected from this team when the season began.