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Winless Lions can somehow still make the NFL playoffs: Here are the 45 things that need to happen

CBS Sports logo CBS Sports 12/3/2021 John Breech
© Provided by CBS Sports

As we head into Week 13 of the NFL season, the most surprising fact about the playoff race is that all 32 teams are still mathematically alive and that's mostly only surprising because it means the DETROIT LIONS can still get in the playoffs. 

If you're thinking that sounds absolutely unbelievable and that you're going to need some proof that the 0-10-1 Lions are still alive, I have some good news: Our social team decided to map out Detroit's path to the playoffs and let me just say, this might be the most complicated thing I've ever seen. 

Although there are actually several routes for the Lions to get to the playoffs, most of them involve multiple games ending in ties, but no one likes dealing with ties, so we came up with a playoff path that doesn't involve a single tie. 

Heading into Week 13, the Lions will need a total of 45 THINGS to go their way in order for them make the playoffs. The crazy part is that one of those 45 things has already happened and it happened on Thursday night when the Cowboys beat the Saints, so let's go ahead and check that one off the list.

Without further adieu, let's check out everything the Lions need to make the playoffs. 

Week 13 results that the Lions need to keep their playoff hopes alive

Ironically enough, I feel like the most unrealistic result in Week 13 is the Lions winning their game, but they did almost beat the Viking earlier this year, so let's assume they win to keep this wild playoff ride going by picking up the win. If you really believe in the Lions playoff hopes and you decided to do a Lions playoff parlay for Week 13, you'd win $15,517 on a $100 bet if all eight of these teams won. 

Week 14 results that the Lions need to keep their playoff hopes alive

Two weeks ago, you would have been laughed at for suggesting the Jets might be the Saints, but that doesn't sound so unrealistic anymore. Also, with Russell Wilson struggling, a Texans upset over the Seahawks doesn't' seem completely crazy. Once again, the Lions winning seems like the most improbable part of this list. 

Week 15 results that the Lions need to keep their playoff hopes alive

  • Lions beat Cardinals
  • Eagles beat Washington
  • Cowboys beat Giants
  • Bills beat Panthers
  • Falcons beat 49ers
  • Rams beat Seahawks
  • Buccaneers beat Saints
  • Bears beat Vikings

Honestly, if the Lions beat the Cardinals in Week 15, we should just give them Arizona's playoff spot. 

Week 16 results that the Lions need to keep their playoff hopes alive

  • Lions beat Falcons
  • Rams beat Vikings
  • Giants beat Eagles
  • Buccaneers beat Panthers
  • Cowboys beat Washington
  • Seahawks beat Bears
  • Dolphins beat Saints
  • Titans beat 49ers

Of the eight teams that the Lions need to win in Week 16, at least six of them will likely be favored, which makes me feel like this Lions playoff thing ACTUALLY HAS A CHANCE OF HAPPENING. Just kidding, the real odds are probably like one-in-a-billion. 

Week 17 results that the Lions need to keep their playoff hopes alive

  • Lions beat Seahawks
  • Saints beat Panthers
  • Bears beat Giants
  • Washington beats Eagles
  • Packers beat Vikings
  • Texans beat 49ers

If the Lions playoff chances are still alive at this point, I'm going to assume it's because the Football Gods want them in the playoffs and if they want the Lions in, they'll make sure that Detroit upsets Seattle and that the Texans beat the 49ers.

Week 18 results that the Lions need to keep their playoff hopes alive

  • Lions beat Packers
  • Falcons beat Saints
  • Giants beat Washington
  • Cowboys beat Eagles
  • Vikings beat Bears
  • Rams beat 49ers

Considering the Lions need 45 things to happen, Week 18 should be the least stressful one since they only need six things to go their way. That being said, if the Lions do make the playoffs, I will print out this entire story and eat it and with ketchup. 

Anyway, here's a look at the list in an easily shareable graphic in case you want to show it to everyone you know. 

The sad part for the Lions is that although they need 45 things to go their way to get in the playoffs, they only need one thing to go against them this week to be eliminated. The Lions will officially be knocked out of playoff contention if they lose to the Vikings. Even if they beat Minnesota, they'll still be eliminated if the Bears and 49ers BOTH win in Week 13. 

For all the gamblers out there who bet on the Lions to make the playoffs, which was apparently everyone, you're going to probably want to print out this list and keep it handy so you can thank the Football Gods every time something goes your way. 

If you're wondering why the house always wins, it's because people make bets on things like the Lions making the playoffs. 


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