Detroit Lions Actually Have Playoff Potential

18 November 2020

detroit lions

Success of any kind has been hard to come by for the Detroit Lions. While the franchise has won four NFL championships (1935, ’52, ’53, and ’57), they are one of four teams yet to make it to the Super Bowl. There was not much hope that the barrier would be broken down heading into the season.

But that does not mean fans were not holding out hope for a more reasonable level of success, i.e., a division title or playoff berth.

Most fans would admit they knew winning the division would be a reach. However, with seven teams from each conference making the playoffs, maybe they could sneak into the postseason as a wild card team.

No one aims to just make the playoffs, of course. But for the Lions, that would actually be a pretty big deal. The last time they made it in was in 2016; they have been to the playoffs just three times during this millennium.

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So, while it is not the ultimate goal for any team, making it in would at least be a step in the right direction. At 3-3, the Lions looked like they might have a chance. But then they lost two in a row, dropping their record to a dismal 3-5.

With a win over the Washington Football Team Sunday, they improved to 4-5. If the playoffs were to start this week, they would be the No. 10 seed and out of the playoffs. But the ninth seed is another 4-5 team (Minnesota Vikings), and the No. 8 is the woeful Chicago Bears at 5-5.

In the final wildcard spot, the No. 7 seed, is Seattle at 6-3.

Thinking they could overcome the lead the Green Bay Packers (7-2) have in the NFC North would be unrealistic. But thinking they can overcome the two-game deficit for the final wildcard spot is not a crazy idea.

How the Detroit Lions Can Make The Playoffs

Had there been a third wildcard during the last five seasons, nine wins were enough to earn the seventh seed in both conferences. Well—most of the time, it was. A couple of times, eight was enough, and one time it took ten. So, for the Lions to make it in, they will probably need at least nine wins.

That means, of the seven games they have left, they will need to win at least five. They are 1.5-point underdogs to Carolina this week, which means they could very easily win this week. Beating Houston should not be too tough, and there is a good chance they will beat Chicago this time.

So, heading into Week 14’s game against the Green Bay Packers, they could very well be 7-5. That means they will need two wins in their final four games to have a shot at making the playoffs. But it will not be easy for them to win one of their last four, let alone two.

Green Bay beat them with ease back in Week Two and will likely not have too much trouble doing it again. Tennessee will probably be favored in Week 15. But if Matthew Stafford has a great day, the Lions could record the upset.

That means they will need to beat either Tampa Bay or Minnesota to make it in. The Buccaneers are the better team between the two. But if Brady has a bad day, the Lions could steal a win.

They will have a better shot against Minnesota. But they will have to do a better job of slowing Dalvin Cook down than they did in Week Nine.

So – How Should You Bet?

It certainly does not look too good for the Lions. Things will look promising over the next few weeks as they improve to 7-5 with wins over the Panthers, Bears, and Texans. But they are going to have a hard time winning two of their last four. has the Lions odds of making the playoffs listed as +700 (Yes). Their odds of missing are set at -1600 (No).  That means there is a 12.5 percent chance they make it in and a 94.12 percent chance they do not.

If you are going to bet, you might as well try to win some money. Roll the dice with yes, but only bet money you can afford to lose.

Betting Play: Take the Lions to make the playoffs, but keep your wager small.  

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