The Christmas Eve loss to the Carolina Panthers was a significant hit to the Detroit Lions’ playoff chances, and those chances are now on the ropes in Week 17.
After a nice run to actually give themselves solid odds to make the playoffs with a softer schedule coming, the Detroit Lions laid an egg, fell on their face, whatever metaphor you like against the Carolina Panthers on Christmas Eve.
Up to a little north 40 percent odds to make the playoffs after their Week 15 win over the New York Jets, the loss to Carolina was a solid hit to those chances for the Lions.
The Lions were always going to need some help to earn a Wild Card spot, and they got what they needed all-around otherwise in Week 16. So in that respect the loss to Carolina was also a big missed opportunity.
Detroit Lions’ playoff chances now on the ropes heading into Week 17
In Week 17 the Lions play the Chicago Bears at home. Back in Week 10, the Lions beat the Bears 31-30 at Soldier Field. At 3-12, Chicago is firmly in spoiler mode should there be an opportunity.
The Lions would ideally beat the Bears to get back to .500 next Sunday and keep their best chance at a Wild Card spot, that goes without saying.
A loss on its own wouldn’t necessarily be the final blow to that chance. But if the Lions lose to the Bears and the Washington Commanders beat the Cleveland Browns, the Lions would be eliminated from the playoffs.
A Seattle Seahawks win over the New York Jets coupled with a loss to the Bears would also hurt the Lions. But as Jeremy Reisman of Pride of Detroit cited, the head-to-head tiebreaker the Seahawks have over the Lions would be eliminated if the Lions, Seahawks and a third team finished 8-9.
If the Commanders lose to or tie the Browns, a three-way tie involving the Lions, Commanders and Seahawks remains possible. An 8-9 record is basically the same as an 7-8-2 mark for this purpose. So the Commanders need a loss and a tie in their last two games to keep that tiebreaker in play.
So the only definite way the Lions get eliminated from the playoffs in Week 17 is if they lose and the Commanders win–and only the latter absolutely has to happen.. But after looking pretty good and on an upward trend a week ago, Detroit’s playoff chances are firmly on the ropes now.