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Can Lions still make the playoffs after Week 16 loss?

We go over Lions chances to make the postseason going into their Week 16 game against the Panthers.

Josh Woods #51 of the Detroit Lions celebrates during the second half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on December 18, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Update: The Packers defeated the Dolphins in Week 16 to make things interesting. Green Bay is now tied with the Lions at 7-8 and the two teams face each other in Week 18. It may not matter as much if Green Bay can’t beat the Vikings next week. If the Packers do, the final game of the regular season could be for a spot in the postseason. It depends how the Giants and Commanders do in front in the 6-7 seeds in the conference.

Update: The Lions got a little help by the 49ers beating Washington, but they blew a great chance, as both the Commanders and Seahawks lost. They will need to win out, but still will need help from the Commanders and Seahawks losing.

Results: The Lions fell to the Panthers 37-23. They couldn’t have moved into a playoff spot just with a win, but it would have helped. The Seattle Seahawks also lost so they don’t fall in the standings at this point. If the Washington Commanders beat the San Francisco 49ers, it will make it harder for Detroit to make the playoffs. For now, it appears that they still have a shot to clinch next week.


The Detroit Lions travel to face the Carolina Panthers on Christmas Eve and have worked their way firmly into the playoff picture. The game isn’t necessarily must-win territory, but a loss would give them little wiggle room. The game kicks off at 1 p.m. ET and the Lions are a 2.5-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Lions playoff chances

Record: 7-7
Odds to make playoffs: Yes +125, No -150
Remaining opponents: Week 16 @ Panthers, Week 17 vs. Bears, Week 18 @ Packers

Detroit cannot win the NFC North now that the Vikings have clinched first place. However, they are only a half game out of the final wild card berth. The Lions are tied with the Seahawks at 7-7, with the Commanders in the final berth with a 7-6-1 record. Seattle has the tiebreaker edge over Detroit thanks to a Week 4 win.

The Lions cannot be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to Carolina, but they could slip to 1.5 games out with only two to go. A win doesn’t move them into a playoff berth without losses by Washington and Seattle, but it would at least keep the pressure on.

Current playoff standings

Wild card standings

6. Giants, 8-5-1
7. Commanders, 7-6-1

8. Seahawks, 7-7
9. Lions, 7-7
10. Packers, 6-8
11. Panthers, 5-9
12. Saints, 5-9
13. Falcons, 5-9