The Detroit Lions have seen a doomsday scenario play out over the last couple weeks of NFL football. First, the Lions lost to the New York Giants in Week 15. Then the Lions lost to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 16. Meanwhile the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Redskins have been winning their games. What it all amounts to is a scenario where the Detroit Lions, who were 9-4 not long ago, are looking at maybe finishing 9-7 and missing the post-season.

Betting odds on Detroit missing playoffs

In this article, I am going to use betting odds to calculate Detroit's mathematical chance of missing the post-season.

That's not to say that betting odds are actually true odds, but they can be converted into a mathematical percentage for the purpose of gaining insight. Furthermore, in this article I will discount the possibility of ties in the final week of action in the relevant games at hand. However, I will point out that Detroit get into the post-season if they tie Green Bay or if Washington tie New York. In either case, Detroit would be the 6th-seeded Wild Card.

The two games that matter in Week 17 for Detroit are New York at Washington and Green Bay at Detroit. The situation is that Detroit clinch the division with a win over Green Bay. If the Lions lose with Washington winning, then Detroit miss the playoffs.

Therefore logically, one scenario that has to happen for Detroit to miss the playoffs is Washington beating New York.

Washington big faves against New York

For starters, I'll start with Washington's percentage chance of winning and it is a pretty good chance. The Redskins have home-field advantage in their game and the Giants don't have a good reason to try hard as they are 5th in seeding in their conference regardless of how things go in the final week.

Not surprising, Washington enter Week 17 as -350 (2/7; SportingBet) favorites to beat New York straight-up. Those betting odds imply a 77.78% chance that Washington will defeat New York on Sunday, which is the next step in a doomsday scenario that sees the Lions miss the playoffs.

After that, Detroit would still have to lose to Green Bay to complete their doom.

Despite hosting the Sunday-night game, the Lions are not coming in as favorites to win straight up. Bet365 have the Green Bay Packers as -175 favorites, implying a 63.64% chance that they will win and Detroit will lose.

When you factor the two events together (ie. 0.7778 x 0.6364) you are practically left with a 50/50 proposition. There's a 49.4% chance that the two events will happen using the converted betting odds above. That's a pretty good chance that the Lions will miss the playoffs this season and it's a pretty good chance that they won't. In short, Detroit's season very much hangs in the balance following their slip-ups over the last couple of weeks.

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