Detroit Lions scoreboard-watching season: Your complete guide

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 3: Quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions reacts on the field after being injured in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 3, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 3: Quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions reacts on the field after being injured in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 3, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Detroit Lions fans know the deal by now: for any chance to make the playoffs, the Motor City needs to “win and get some help.” Exactly how much help though, and from who?

Sunday was all-around bad as far as the Detroit Lions are concerned. The defense got demolished. Any playoff hopes (and Matthew Stafford‘s right hand) came close to getting demolished. The Silverdome didn’t get demolished.

It may feel like all is lost at this point, but my mantra as far as post-season dreams are concerned is, “until that 8th loss, you still have a chance”.  If I’m choosing to follow my own mantra, that means at least another two weeks until I’ll be put out of my misery. Two more weeks before I need to once again make peace with being a fully-grown adult and still never seeing a Lions playoff win.

What better way to spend the next two weeks than by doing some heavy-duty scoreboard watching then?

Scoreboard-watching  is a time-honored tradition where you’re cheering just as hard for a bunch of other teams to screw up as you are for your own team to win. It’s paying more attention to the scores flashing in the top corner of the screen during the Lions game than the Lions game itself.

Choose any playoff cliche that you want. “Every game is a must win.”  The Lions “no longer control their own destiny”.  Stafford (or Rudock) and Co. need to “win, and then get some help.” All of those things apply from here on out. Hence, scoreboard-watching it is, at least until that 8th loss.

This can be a complicated process for the uninitiated, especially since it sometimes means cheering for a hated rival. It often means rooting against a certain team one week, but being a die-hard fan of theirs for the very next game. Every once in a while, you get burned by a team that you didn’t realize you were supposed to be cheering against until it was too late.

I can see certain unnamed commenters snorting in disgust already. Hey, I didn’t say any part of this process is fun! However, desperate times call for some desperate scoreboard-watching!

Who are we cheering against?

Atlanta (7-5) If the Falcons can go either 0-4 or 1-3 to wrap up the season, that’s perfect. With a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lions, they essentially hold a two game lead over Detroit in any playoff scenarios. Luckily, the Dirty Birds have a pretty dirty schedule to finish things up, so 0-4 or 1-3 aren’t completely out of the question.

Seattle (8-4) The Seahawks went out and smoked the Eagles on Sunday night. Seriously? Philly’s 9 game winning streak is over just like that. So are any thoughts of Seattle going down nice and easy this year. The Lions could potentially steal a tiebreaker here if both teams somehow end with the same record. That will only happen if Seattle starts losing, and fast.

Is there anyone we’re actually cheering for?

New Orleans (9-3) Detroit has essentially zero chance of catching the Saints for the Wild Card (if ‘Who Dat’ blows their division lead). Might as well let them wrap up the NFC South and  take out the Falcons at the same time. The Saints still have two games left against Atlanta and would help themselves (and the Lions) by winning both.

Dallas (6-6) ONE GAME ONLY. There are a lot of prerequisites for this one, but Dallas/Seattle on Christmas Eve could be an important one to pay attention to. It only matters if the Lions are somehow still in contention by Christmas Eve, but then again, that’s the entire point of this post. If enough happens, the Lions might still be in contention by this point. So cheer for the Cowboys, but only in that one game.

What about the Panthers and Packers?

Those dreaded words: Aaron Rodgers is coming back soon.  As far as scoreboard-watching goes though, Green Bay is a non-factor. Since the Lions play Green Bay in Week 17, anything the Pack does from now until then doesn’t really matter.

As for the Panthers…the NFC South is taking at least one Wild Card spot. At 8-4 plus a head-to-head advantage, the Lions aren’t catching them. If only one team can collapse down the stretch, the Falcons seem a safer bet, and with those teams meeting in Week 17…well, someone has to win. So the Panthers can go 12-4 for all I care.

Are there any potential spoilers out there lurking?

I can’t bring bring myself to work out the details, but yeah, technically the Redskins could still go 9-7. So could the Cardinals, but the Lions beat them head-to-head, so we can safely rule them out.

Next: Do the Detroit Lions need Ameer Abdullah?

Isn’t this entire exercise pretty ridiculous?

Yes it is, my friends. It certainly is, but such is the current predicament. Two weeks from now, it likely won’t matter anymore, but until then, one can only hold out hope.

The more the Lions win, the less help they’ll need. They’re going to need significant help no matter what though. With this scoreboard-watching guide in hand, at least they’ll know who to ask.