The Detroit Lions handled their business quite capably in Week 17. Detroit kept the playoff hopes very much alive by stomping the visiting Chicago Bears, 41-10.
The win elevated the Lions to 8-8 on the season and temporarily slotted Detroit into the final wild card playoff spot in the NFC. Alas, the postseason picture changed with the late-afternoon outcomes around the league.
The Lions entered the weekend needing to catch two of three teams ahead of them in the NFC standings. New York, Washington and Seattle were above Detroit entering Week 17. The Lions need to finish with more wins than two of those three teams to make the postseason.
New York clinched its spot when the Giants rolled over the Colts, 38-10. The Giants are now 9-6-1 and will be in the postseason.
That means the Lions needed some assistance from the teams playing the Commanders and Seahawks. Cleveland helped by beating Washington 24-10, dropping the Commanders to 7-8-1 and behind the Lions. Washington is now inconsequential to Detroit’s playoff picture.
Unfortunately, the New York Jets couldn’t offer any such help. Seattle improved to 8-8 by beating the Jets. Seattle must lose in the Week 18 finale against the 5-11 Los Angeles Rams, who were blown out by the Chargers on Sunday.
Then there are the Lions’ Week 18 foe, the Green Bay Packers. The Packers also improved to 8-8 with a convincing win over the fading Minnesota Vikings. The Lions must beat the Packers in Green Bay in Week 18 and also have the Seahawks lose to the Rams. If those two things happen, the Lions are in the postseason for the first time since 2016.
If Green Bay beats Detroit, they will win the final spot regardless of what happens to the Seahawks due to a better record in NFC games.