Besides a win over the Carolina Panthers, of course, what else should Detroit Lions fans be rooting for in Week 16?
With their wins over the last two weeks, the Detroit Lions playoff odds have basically quadrupled. A win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 16 will bring a boost to those odds again, and with some other helpful results the Lions could wake up Christmas morning in the NFC’s last Wild Card spot.
A win over the 5-9 Panthers on Saturday is obvious. But what other games should Lions’ fans be paying some attention to, and what results should they be rooting for?
Detroit Lions fans rooting guide for Week 16: Important games, results to root for
Seattle Seahawks at Kansas Chiefs (1 p.m. ET, Saturday)
The 7-7 Seahawks beat the Lions head-to-head back in Week 4, so Detroit would ideally have a better record to avoid losing that tiebreaker if it comes to that. The Chiefs are 10-point favorites on FanDuel Sportsbook, so it would be a pretty big upset for Seattle to go to Kansas City and win.
Seattle’s final two games look winnable, against the New York Jets and Los Angeles Rams, and they’re both at home. So a loss here would be nice from a Lions’ perspective.
Result Lions should root for: A Chiefs win
New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings (1 p.m. ET, Saturday)
The Giants got a big win over the Washington Commanders last Sunday night to snap a winless skid, and at 8-5-1 they’re in a pretty good position right now. The Lions beat the Giants back in Week 11, but that pesky tie with the Commanders back in Week 13 removes the impact of that head-to-head advantage.
The win for the Vikings would help their run to the securing the No. 2 seed in the NFC, and if the Lions were the No. 7 seed a familiar division rival they know they can beat would be their first round opponent. Any loss for the Giants is good for the Lions.
Result Lions fans should root for: A Vikings win
Washington Commanders at San Francisco 49ers (4:05 p.m. ET, Saturday)
The Lions beat the 7-6-1 Commanders too, so they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker there if it ends up mattering.
Washington has this game against the 49ers and Week 18 against the Dallas Cowboys around a winnable game in Week 17 against the Cleveland Browns. An 8-8-1 record looks most likely, and they’ll probably need help to make that good enough for a Wild Card spot.
Result Lions fans should root for: A 49ers win
Green Bay Packers at Miami Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
The 6-8 Packers remain alive for a playoff spot, with back-to-back wins over the Bears and Rams to foster the idea they could run the table and Aaron Rodgers can never be disregarded. But this week brings a reality check, on the road against a fully-functioning Dolphins’ offense.
A loss on Christmas Day would all but eliminate the Packers from playoff contention, and Rodgers’ disrespect of the Lions would make that particularly sweet in Detroit. This game could get ugly in favor of the Dolphins–nearly as ugly as that ugly Christmas sweater you had to wear to a holiday party, and the views of a mopy and frustrated Rodgers will be nice to see.
Result Lions fans should root for: A Dolphins win, and a blowout if you’re so inclined
Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Rams (4:30 p.m. ET, Sunday)
When the 2022 schedule came out, the Broncos and Rams seemed likely to vying for a playoff spot in their respective conferences on Christmas Day, and maybe one of the top seeds. But instead they’re both 4-10, and sitting with a top-five pick in April’s draft that won’t even be theirs due to their all-in trades for a quarterback upgrade. At least the Rams got a Super Bowl ring out of their-all in move.
A Broncos win would drop the Rams to 4-11, and drop themselves out of the No. 3 pick in the 2023 draft if the draft were tomorrow. Without knowing all of the tiebreaker possibilities based on other results, the Rams’ pick (going to the Lions from the Matthew Stafford trade) would at least go from No. 4 to No. 3 then.
It’s simple here: Every loss for the Rams is good for the Lions’ other first-round draft pick.
Result Lions should root for: A Broncos win
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