It’s the final week of the regular season, and everything is coming into focus. The NFL playoff picture is nearly set, with 11 of 14 playoff spots already clinched and the top of the 2022 NFL Draft order nearly set.
The Detroit Lions have locked themselves into a top-two pick. The first overall pick is still in play for the final week of the season, but it appears unlikely. As for the Los Angeles Rams—who are relevant because Detroit holds their first overall pick—they have clinched a playoff spot, and could land anywhere from the No. 2 seed to the No. 5 seed depending on how Sunday’s games play out. Of course, their draft pick position won’t be determined until (if?) they get booted in the postseason, but the lower the seed, the more likely it is for them to get eliminated.
So let’s take a look at this week’s very simple Detroit Lions Rooting Guide.
Obviously, I think we are all going to be rooting for a Lions win over the Green Bay Packers, but if they do end up losing the NFC No. 1 seed, there is only one game that is relevant to their draft order. If the Lions beat the Packers, nothing else matters. Detroit will hold the second overall pick.
Colts (9-7) at Jaguars (2-14) — 1 p.m. ET — CBS
Root for: Jaguars
If the Jaguars win and the Lions lose, Detroit will officially be on the clock with the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The problem here is 1) the Jaguars suck and 2) the Colts are in a “win and you’re in” scenario for the playoffs. So the Colts have all the motivation in the world to take care of business on Sunday.
As mentioned before, the Rams could be anywhere from the second seed in the NFC to the fifth seed. Instead of breaking it down by games, let’s make it simple:
If the Rams (12-4) beat the 49ers (9-7)…
They’re the second overall seed. Nothing else matters. They’ll face off against the lowest-seeded playoff team, which would be the Eagles or Saints, depending on if New Orleans beats the Falcons.
If the Rams lose to the 49ers and the Cardinals (11-5) beat the Seahawks (6-10)…
The Rams are the fifth seed. No other games matter. They will go on the road and face the division winner with the worst record. That would be the Dallas Cowboys in this scenario (no matter what happens in the other games).
If the Rams AND Cardinals lose…
The Rams would win the division and host a playoff game in the first round of the postseason. They will be the third or fourth seed depending on what the Buccaneers do against the Panthers. If the Bucs lose, the Rams have the three seed and would host the 49ers. If the Bucs win, the Rams have the four seed and host the Cardinals.
Here’s the long and short of it:
Rams win = No. 2 seed in NFC, will host…
- Saints if New Orleans wins
- Eagles with Saints loss
Rams lose + Cardinals win
- No. 5 seed, will go on the road vs. Cowboys in the first round
Rams lose + Cardinals lose + Bucs win
- No. 4 seed, will host Cardinals in the first round
Rams lose + Cardinals lose + Bucs lose
- No. 3 seed, will host 49ers in the first round