March 3, 2024


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Updated NFC playoff picture: How the Detroit Lions can earn the top seed in the NFC

Updated NFC playoff picture: How the Detroit Lions can earn the top seed in the NFC

It was a great weekend for the Detroit Lions. On Sunday, they clinched their first division title in 30 years by defeating… Minnesota Vikings. By the end of Christmas Day, the path suddenly opened for them to finish first in the conference. thanks for the Baltimore Ravens Multiplication from San Francisco 49ersthere are suddenly three teams — including the Lions — who are tied for the best record in the conference (11-4) through 15 games.

Let's take a closer look at NFC playoff picture Now that all the Week 16 results are in the books.

NFC Playoff Picture (through Week 16)

x = quotient
y = achieved a breaking point

Division leaders:

  1. 49ers: 11-4 – S
  2. Eagles: 11 – 4 – d
  3. Black: 11-4 – S
  4. Pirates: 8-7

Wild Card Race (advancing in the top three)

  1. Cowboys: 10-5 – p
  2. Rams: 8-7
  3. Seahawks: 8-7
  4. Vikings: 7-8
  5. Falcons: 7-8
  6. Packers: 7-8
  7. Saints: 7-8

The 49ers currently hold a tiebreaker over both the Eagles and Lions due to their impressive conference record (9-1). Both Philly and Detroit are 7-3 in conference. The only way either of these teams makes up that difference is if they finish with a better record than the 49ers.

Philly temporarily overtakes the Lions on the strength of the victory – the fourth tiebreaker. But this is fundamentally irrelevant, because other deciding factors will change based on the last two weeks.

So what needs to happen for the Lions to win first place? Two things:

  • Lions win (at Cowboys, vs. Vikings)
  • 49ers lose or tie another game (at Commanders, vs. Rams)

If the Lions win, it won't matter what the Eagles do in their final two games, because Detroit will have the tiebreaker over Philly due to their combined games scoring (thanks to a theoretical win over the Cowboys).

Can the 49ers go 1-1 in their last two games? The Leaders look unlikely to lose 4-11 next week. Washington has lost six straight games and eight of its last nine. However, that ending against A.J Los Angeles Rams Which team is most likely to fight for their lives in the playoffs? That could easily be a loss. And what better way for the Lions to finish first than with a little help from Matthew Stafford?

Of course, for any of this to happen, the Lions need to pick up some big wins on their own. Detroit is close to falling to the Cowboys this week, so this won't be an easy task. But if they do manage to get rid of the discomfort…beware.

The Lions' current odds of winning the top seed (According to the New York Times): 4%
Odds that the No. 1 Lions will beat Dallas this week: 17%

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