So, Week 15 didn’t go as planned. The Detroit Lions lost while the Green Bay Packers were able to gain a game on the Lions lead in the NFC north. To make matters worse, Detroit also fell to No. 4 from the No. 2 position when it comes to playoff seeding in the NFC. When the smoke cleared, the Lions still held the lead and are still on pace to not only make the playoffs but to host the first playoff game at Ford Field, ever.
While you are enjoying time with your loved ones and families this weekend, football will be on your minds, I am sure, but not at the front of them. Alas, I bring to you, Nation, your Detroit Lions Week 16 Rooting Guide.
Here are the games that have no effect on the Lions path to the playoffs.
Miami Dolphins (9-5) at Buffalo Bills (7-7) – 1:00 p.m. ET – CBS (Saturday)
New York Jets (4-10) at New England Patriots (12-2) – 1:00 p.m. ET – CBS (Saturday)
Tennessee Titans (8-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12) – 1:00 p.m. ET – CBS (Saturday)
San Diego Chargers (5-9) at Cleveland Browns (0-14) – 1:00 p.m. ET – CBS (Saturday)
Indianapolis Colts (7-7) at Oakland Raiders (11-3) – 4:05 p.m. ET – CBS (Saturday)
San Francisco 49ers (1-13) at Los Angeles Rams (4-10) – 4:25 p.m. ET – FOX (Saturday)
Cincinnati Bengals (5-8-1) vs Houston Texans (8-6) – 8:25 p.m. ET – NFL Network (Saturday)
Baltimore Ravens (8-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) – 4:30 p.m. ET – NFL Network (Sunday)
Denver Broncos (8-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-4) – 8:30 p.m. ET – NBC (Sunday)
Now for the games that really matter:
Philadelphia Eagles (5-9) over New York Giants (10-4) – 8:25 p.m. ET – NBC/NFL Network (Thursday)
How sweet would it have been take down the Giants last week? Needless to say, while the Eagles are statistically eliminated from the playoffs this season, they could play a huge part in helping to make sure the Detroit Lions make the playoffs with a victory in this game.
Minnesota Vikings (7-7) over Green Bay Packers (8-6) – 1:00 p.m. ET – FOX (Saturday)
Lions fans, for whatever reason, if you own anything Minnesota Vikings related now is the time to put it on! While it could be possible for the Vikings to win out and tie the Lions with 9-7 records if the wheels fall off for Detroit, the Lions would still own the tiebreaker. Green Bay is rolling as of late and nothing could be better than the Vikings defense coming back into the form they were in to start the year and knock the Packers down a notch. If the Vikings can pull off the upset, and the Lions can go to Dallas and win on Monday Night Football, Detroit would clinch the NFC North.
Chicago Bears (3-11) over Washington Redskins (7-6-1) – 1:00 p.m. ET – FOX (Saturday)
Last week we all pulled for the Bears to pull off the upset against Green Bay and it almost happened, until A-Aron, A-Aron’d. We are hoping the same thing doesn’t happen here and the Bears get their 4th win of the season. The Redskins are only a half game back of the Wild Card so they are very much in the running still. Chicago would just ease the race for the Wild Card should Detroit not hang on to their division lead.
Carolina Panthers (6-8) over Atlanta Falcons (9-5) – 1:00 p.m. ET – FOX (Saturday)
With the Panthers having a .0005% chance of making the playoffs, they are all but eliminated. The name of the game here is to finish with a better record than the Falcons, or any other NFC South team to claim either the 2nd of 3rd position in the NFC bracket, depending on how things with the other contenders play out.
New Orleans Saints (6-8) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6) – 4:25 p.m. ET – FOX (Saturday)
The Saints are two games back in the Wild Card race so they need a bit of help in order to have any effect on the Lions playoff hopes, however the Buccaneers are actually tied with the Packers for the 6th position, but due to the divison tie-breaker, they are on the outside looking in. Tampa has a very streaky offense and you would hate to play against them when Winston and Evans are clicking. Needless to say we want the Saints to help keep the path clear for Detroit.
Arizona Cardinals (5-8-1) over Seattle Seahawks (9-4-1) – 4:25 p.m. ET – FOX (Saturday)
It’s strange seeing the Cardinals being eliminated from playoff contention, especially with the team they have. Nonetheless, as with the NFC South, the Lions need to finish with a better record than the Seahawks to help with playoff seeding and possibly get a first round bye. Which would be wonderful to help the team heal up prior to hosting a playoff game.
With a Lions win on Monday Night inside of Jerry’s World in Dallas, and Packers loss, the Lions officially win the NFC North for the first time since 1993, which is goal No. 1. Secondly, the seeding game comes into play, so the Lions would actually be back in the 2nd spot within the NFC and back on pace for a first round bye if all goes as planned.