The Detroit Lions didn’t just lose a game last night. They lost control of their own destiny in the NFC North race.
The Lions are already guaranteed to finish with the division’s best record in NFC North games and with tie-breakers over the Chicago Bears (season sweep) and Green Bay Packers (winning percentage in games played within division) but they are not guaranteed the division crown.
If they are to win the division, the Lions need to win their two remaining games then get some help from the Bears and Packers. In fact, the help needs to come as soon as next week. If the Packers and Bears both win, it is season over for the Lions. As long as one loses, the Lions’ division title hopes stay alive heading into week 17 provided, they beat the Giants.
What needs to happen in week 17 rests on what the Bears and Packers do in week 16. If one is able to help the Lions with a week 16 loss, that is the team Lions fans should be rooting for when the Bears and Packers meet in the regular season finale. Should both lose in week 16, it doesn’t matter if the Packers beat the Bears or the Bears beat the Packers. The Lions would win the division with a win over the Vikings.
To summarize, Lions win the NFC North if:
- Lions Win
- Packers and/or Bears Lose
- Lions Win
- Packers win if Bears lose in week 16, Bears win if Packers lose in week 16. Irrelevant if Bears and Packers both lose in week 16.