Justin Rogers and John Niyo of The Detroit News break down the Lions' 17-3 victory over the Cardinals, snapping a 25-year drought without a win in the state of Arizona. Justin Rogers, The Detroit News
Allen Park — With a win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, the Detroit Lions’ playoff hopes kept a faint pulse, while the team’s draft positioning took a hit.
Through Sunday’s games, just about everything went right for the Lions, regarding the team’s long-shot pursuit of a postseason ticket. Outside of the Green Bay Packers, the next four teams ahead of the Lions in the NFC standings lost. The next two beyond that, Minnesota and Seattle, play Monday night.
Regardless of outcome, Minnesota and Seattle will hold the fifth and sixth seeds in the NFC come Tuesday morning. But a Vikings loss puts them at 6-6-1 on the year, just a game and a half up on the Lions, with a Dec. 23 meeting between the teams still on the schedule at Ford Field.
Mind you, the Lions would still need to win out and jump Philadelphia and Carolina to sneak in, but weirder things have happened in sports.
Still, the far likelier scenario is the Lions miss out on the postseason, even if they do manage to run the table and finish 8-8.
If that’s the case, the focus shifts to the NFL Draft.
The Lions entered Sunday on a path to earn the No. 5 choice in the first round, but with a victory over the Cardinals, fell to the No. 10 slot. Three other teams have 5-8 records, but the Giants and Bucs are currently ahead of the Lions in the draft order because their opponents have a slightly lower winning percentage.
Next Sunday’s game with Buffalo carries significant draft ramifications. The 4-9 Bills are currently set to pick No. 6 overall.
Current NFL first-round draft order projections from tankathon.com:
1. San Francisco, 3-10
2. Arizona, 3-10
3. Oakland, 3-10
4. Atlanta, 4-9
5. N.Y. Jets, 4-9
6. Buffalo, 4-9
7. Jacksonville, 4-9
8. Tampa Bay, 5-8
9. N.Y. Giants, 5-8
10. Detroit, 5-8
11. Cincinnati, 5-8
12. Green Bay, 5-7-1
13. Cleveland, 5-7-1