Detroit Lions Playoff-Clinching Scenarios: What Win Against Saints Does for NFC North Title Chances

The Detroit Lions were able to hold off the Saints and move to 9-3 in Week 13. What does the win mean for their playoff chances?

The Detroit Lions are well on their way to clinching a playoff spot — something they have not accomplished for six seasons.

A Week 13 win over the New Orleans Saints moves the team to 9-3, but will that be enough to clinch a playoff spot any time soon?

What Are the Detroit Lions’ Playoff Chances

After a big 33-28 win over the Saints, the Lions are in a good position to make it to the playoffs. They can clinch a playoff spot either through winning the division or claiming a Wild Card spot.

The Lions are three games ahead of the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North. Regardless of anything else, if they win three games in the next five weeks, it would be impossible for the Vikings to catch up, and they will clinch the division and have a playoff spot.

MORE: NFL Playoff Picture Week 13

The Lions are in second place in the NFC, sitting only behind the 10-1 Eagles. It is still possible for them to get the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Detroit needs the Eagles to lose at least one game — and maybe more — even if the Lions themselves win out.

They moved ahead of the San Francisco 49ers this week, but their game against the Eagles later in Week 13 is very important for this ranking. If the 49ers win, they move back into the No. 2 seed, but if they lose, Detroit remains at No. 2.

The Lions and Eagles do not play each other this season, so the first tiebreaker to consider is conference win percentage. As it stands, Philadelphia is 6-0 within the conference, and Detroit is 6-2. Therefore, if the Eagles only lose one more game, and it comes against an AFC team, they would still be the one-seed in the NFC based on conference records.

If Philadelphia and Detroit finish with the same conference record, it would come down to games against common opponents. The common opponents for the two teams are the Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, and Seattle Seahawks. The Eagles are 4-0 with two games left to play against the group, while the Lions are 2-1 with three games left to play against the group.

The Lions would need the Eagles to take a loss against either the Cowboys in Week 14 or the Seahawks in Week 15. If Philadelphia wins both of those, Detroit would need the Eagles to lose two games elsewhere on their schedule in the next seven weeks.

It is unlikely for the Lions to take home the No. 1 NFC spot, but they should not have trouble clinching the NFC North or claiming a Wild Card spot.

The Chiefs game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday night was meaningful in the Lions’ playoff chances. A Packers loss would have given Detroit some breathing room, but Green Bay ended up pulling off the upset to inch closer to a Wild Card spot.

In terms of their schedule, the Lions’ only major challenge should come against the 9-3 Cowboys.

Next week, they take on the 4-6 Chicago Bears and then the 6-6 Denver Broncos. They will face the 6-6 Vikings twice throughout the remainder of the season.

The Lions are in a solid place right now and have plenty of breathing room in terms of clinching a playoff spot in the coming weeks.

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