The Detroit Lions still have a chance to be No. 1 seed in NFC playoffs

The San Francisco 49ers' loss on Monday night keeps the door open for the Detroit Lions to be the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions won their first division title since 1993 with a road win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 16, however appropriately as a full circle moment. They will also have their first home playoff game for the first time since then, and the odds are still the best they will the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs.

The San Francisco 49ers could have taken a stronghold on the No. 1 seed in the NFC by beating the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night. But they were beaten soundly, in a fashion not fully reflected by the 33-19 score, and now they, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Lions have matching 11-4 records.

Based on tiebreakers, the 49ers would still be the No. 1 seed in the NFC and have the bye in the first round if the playoff started this week. But they don't of course, and that loss to the Ravens opens the door wider for others.

How the Detroit Lions can be the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs

Here's how the Lions can earn the No. 1 seed.

1. Win out (at Dallas Cowboys, vs. Minnesota Vikings).

2. 49ers lose or tie one of their last two games (at Washington Commanders, vs. Los Angeles Rams).

The Eagles are inconsequential to the Lions earning the No. 1 seed, due to what would be a better record in common games as a tiebreaker if the Lions beat the Cowboys and win out. The Eagles have a soft remaining two games, against the Arizona Cardinals (3-12) and the New York Giants (5-10), so the chance they win out is pretty good.

Via the New York Times, as of Tuesday morning, the Lions have a six percent chance to be the No. 1 seed. If they beat the Cowboys on Saturday night, before the 49ers and Eagles play on Sunday, that chance bumps up to 20 percent. ESPN has the chances for the Lions to get the No. 1 seed at eight percent.

The Lions of course can't fall lower than the No. 3 seed, and the 49ers winning out along with them would make them the No. 2 seed. There will be no resting starters, but we already know how Dan Campbell feels about that.


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