Lions playoff scenario: Detroit’s postseason path after Week 17, explained


The Detroit Lions blew out the Chicago Bears in Week 17. Here’s how they can make the playoffs in the regular-season finale.

The Detroit Lions started off the 2022 season like it was going to be another long, rebuilding year. Their 1-6 record showed that. They have since gone 6-1 in their next seven games to put them in serious contention to make it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016. The thing was, the NFC Wild Card picture was rather crowded. Yet, they did themselves a huge favor in Week 17.

Detroit had a much-needed great game on Sunday, as they blew out the rival Chicago Bears 41-10. With that, they improved to 8-8 on the season and climbed into the No. 7 spot in the conference. The Washington Commanders losing 24-10 to the Cleveland Browns helped them climb up into a playoff spot.

Now, they enter an all-important final week of the 2022 season. That has fans wondering to themselves — how can the Lions officially clinch a Wild Card berth?

How the Lions can make the playoffs, explained

Realistically, the Lions will have to wait and see how the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers do in Week 17. Let’s look at the hypotheticals.

If both the Seahawks and Packers were to both lose in Week 17 to the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings, respectively, it’s a simple path to the playoffs for the Lions. All they need to do is beat the Packers in Week 18, and they are officially in the playoffs.

Now, let’s take a look at some other scenarios, courtesy of the New York Times’ NFL playoff simulator:

  • If Seahawks and Packers both win in Week 17, then Lions need a win vs. Packers and a Seahawks loss vs. the Los Angeles Rams in Week 18
  • If Seahawks win and Packers lose in Week 17, Lions need a win vs. Packers and a Seahawks loss to Rams in Week 18
  • If Seahawks lose and Packers win in Week 17, Lions need a win vs. Packers in Week 18

There’s no way the Lions can get into the playoffs without a win. What Detroit really needs to happen is for Seattle to lose in Week 17. That way they won’t have to wait on the Seahawks-Rams result in Week 18.

The path to the playoffs will be a bit clearer for Detroit when Week 17 concludes.

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