As the Detroit Lions return from their bye week, they find themselves very much in position to make a playoff run.
The importance of the Lions upcoming game in Chicago can’t be understated. Beyond the obvious fact the two teams are tied with the Packers for the division lead at 5-3, a Lions win gives them a huge tie-breaker advantage over the Bears. The season sweep is all the Lions need to stave off the Bears, but win-lost-tied percentage in games within the division and the conference could come in to play in ties with other teams, namely the Packers. The Lions already hold a conference win percentage advantage in the NFC North, a win over the Bears only strengthens that.
Every Lions win is obviously important as the regular season marches towards its conclusion, but what about the rest of the games going on around the league? Who Lions fans should be rooting for isn’t always clear, here are some suggestions for week 10.
Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings – At 1-7, the Vikings season is already in the toilet but rooting for another Vikings loss in hopes the team packs it in down the stretch doesn’t do much for the Lions. Yes, the Lions travel to Minneapolis in week 17 but the Bears and Packers also each have a game remaining with the Vikings. We should be happy to see the Vikings give up on the season, but not quite yet. The 3-5 Redskins face a tough battle, perhaps too tough, to get back in the Wild Card chase, but another Washington loss helps clear the field for the Lions. Skol, Vikings!
Sunday Early Games
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons – This might sound counter-intuitive, but I think Lions fans should become big Seahawks fans for the next few weeks. It isn’t always as simple as rooting for the teams in front to lose. Realistically, the Lions won’t challenge for the NFC’s number one seed. With the Seahawks holding that position, we might as well hope the Seahawks do as much damage as possible on the rest of the NFC. Later on we’re going to be rooting for the Seahawks to beat the Saints and 49ers, might as well start with officially burying the 2-6 Falcons. The Seahawks have the 12th Man, Lions fans should be their 13th Man.
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears – You should have a pretty good handle on this one.
St. Louis Rams at Indianapolis Colts – Sam Bradford is out for the year and the Rams are already in last place in the NFC West. Still, Lions fans might as well stand #COLTSTRONG.
Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers – The Eagles are trying to play their way back into Wild Card contention but top priority for the Lions and their fans is winning the NFC North. A Packers loss is the best outcome towards that goal. Fly, Eagles, Fly!
Oakland Raiders at New York Giants – Like Rams-Colts, this one is pretty much irrelevant to Lions fans. Root for the Raiders unless you have a strong dislike for them, I don’t care.
Sunday Late Games
Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers – This is probably the toughest one to pick this week. One one hand, the Panthers are surprise playoff contenders entering a tough stretch of games. Starting it off with a loss helps the Lions playoff chances. On the other hand, rooting for the 49ers gives them inside track on the first Wild Card berth and likely a much easier road playoff game. Knowing the Panthers have the tougher remaining schedule, I’m inclined to root for them this week but I wouldn’t blame any fans wanting to root the other way.
Houston Texans at Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals sit just a game back of the Lions and hold a head-to-head tie-breaker. Against an AFC opponent, it is an easy choice. Root for the Texans to hold ‘em this week.
Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints – A matchup between two teams likely to win their division. That being the case, the rooting interest in this one is all about potential playoff seeding should the Lions win the North. The Lions already have the head-to-head win over the Cowboys and don’t play the Saints. Who should you root for? Well, how ’bout them Cowboys? They can only help here.
Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – LOL.