After 3 straight wins, Lions find themselves in NFC wild card playoff picture

Lions open at 9.5 point underdogs vs. Buffalo on Thanksgiving

Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) reacts after an interception against the New York Giants during an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger) (Adam Hunger, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

When the Lions started the season 1-6, the only rankings fans were thinking about was the NFL draft order for next spring.

But after three straight wins -- including two on the road -- the Lions, now 4-6, are firmly in the battle for a wild card playoff spot in the NFC.

That’s partly because so many teams in the NFC are around the .500 mark, making the final playoff spot likely available to wide range of teams, depending on how things shake out.

Currently in the NFC, the Eagles, Vikings, Seahawks and Bucs lead for division spots, while the Cowboys, Giants and 49ers hold the wild card spots, if the playoff started right now.

Right behind the 5-4 San Francisco 49ers, who play tonight on Monday Night Football, are the Washington Commanders, at 6-5, the Atlanta Falcons, at 5-6, and then your Detroit Lions, at 4-6. The Arizona Cardinals are also 4-6, but play tonight vs. the 49ers.

That’s just a couple of games out of playoff contention, with several games left.

I’m not even suggesting the Lions will actually do it -- the odds remain not in their favor. But that fact that we’re talking about the playoff picture after a 1-6 start is encouraging.

We’ll learn a lot about the Lions on Thursday when they take on the Buffalo Bills (7-3), a Super Bowl favorite, though they haven’t been playing like it lately. The Bills have opened at 9.5 point favorites for the Thanksgiving game at Ford Field.

After the Bills, the Lions have games vs. the Jets, Jaguars, Vikings, Bears, Packers, and Panthers, the 24th hardest remaining strength of schedule in the league.

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.