Detroit — The Detroit Lions got the win, and some help on Sunday, but are still going to need more in the final week of the season if they’re going to make the postseason.
With a 41-10 victory over the Chicago Bears, the Lions kept their playoff hopes alive another week, even jumping a spot in the standings after the Cleveland Browns bested the Washington Commanders. That result, coupled with a Packers’ victory over the Vikings, eliminated the Commanders from playoff contention.
With both the Packers and Seahawks winning Sunday afternoon, the Lions remain in a three-way tie for the seventh and final seed in the NFC.
Clearly, the Lions must beat the Packers at Lambeau Field next week, but a victory alone doesn’t guarantee postseason entry. The Lions would also need the Seahawks to lose (or tie) their Week 18 matchup against the 5-11 Los Angles Rams, who were thumped this week by their in-town counterpart, the Chargers.
The Packers, on the other hand, would clinch by beating the Lions, by virtue of holding the tie-breaker over the Seahawks. If both the Seahawks and Lions win and finish with identical 9-8 records, the Seahawks would advance due to a tie-breaker after they bested the Lions head-to-head in early October.
If Detroit does manage to get into the postseason, they would play a road game against the No. 2 seed in the conference. That spot is currently up for grabs between three teams: Minnesota, Dallas and San Francisco.
The 49ers, the NFC West champions, moved into the No. 2 spot on Sunday with an overtime win against the Raiders and the Vikings’ loss to the Packers. The Cowboys, who hold the same record as both the Vikings and 49ers heading into Week 18, are actually the fifth seed since they remain a game back of the division-leading Philadelphia Eagles. The four division winners in each conference get the top-four seeds.
A Cowboys’ win with an Eagles’ loss next week would give Dallas the NFC East crown and either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed, pending the resulting of San Francisco’s game against the struggling Arizona Cardinals.
The top seed in each conference receives a bye.