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A lot of crazy things have happened during the 2021 NFL season, but the craziest one of all has to be the fact that the Detroit Lions were NOT the first team eliminated from playoff contention.

Despite starting the year 0-10-1, the Lions managed to outlast the Texans, who were eliminated in Week 13. Thanks to their win over the Vikings on Sunday, the Lions managed to stave off elimination for at least one more week. 

As we head into Week 14, the Texans are the only NFL team that has officially been ousted, which means, yup, THE LIONS ARE STILL ALIVE. 

If you're thinking that sounds absolutely unbelievable and that you're going to need some proof that the 1-10-1 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, you probably have a better chance of waking up with $7 million in your pocket tomorrow than the Lions do of making the playoffs, but you know what, this is the NFL and anything can happen. 

Although there is more than one route for the Lions to get to the playoffs, most of them involve multiple tie games over the final five weeks of the season and we wanted to cut down on ties, so we picked a playoff route that only features one tie. 

Heading into Sunday's Week 14 games, the Lions will need a total of 36 THINGS to go their way in order for them to make the playoffs.

Without further adieu, let's check out everything the Lions need to make the playoffs. (In our original crazy scenario, we had the Steelers beating the Vikings on Thursday night, but that didn't happen. Despite Minnesota's win, the Lions can still get in. We've outlined below how that can happen.)

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

With the Vikings beating the Steelers, the Lions are now on their way to making the playoffs. They needed 37 things to happen going into Week 14 and now they only need 36. I feel like this is going to happen, unless the Texans blow it by losing to the Seahawks. 

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

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
  • Eagles beat Giants
  • 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.

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

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

Considering the Lions need 36 things to happen, Week 18 should be the least stressful one since they only need six things to go their way.

The sad part for the Lions is that although they need 36 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 Broncos, and even if they beat Denver, they could still be eliminated in Week 14. 

Anyway, if all 36 of these things happen, the NFC playoffs will look like this

1. Buccaneers (13-4)
2. Cowboys (13-4)
3. Packers (13-4)
4. Cardinals (12-5)
5. Rams (12-5)
6. Eagles (9-8)
7. Lions (6-10-1)

If all of this happens, most people would probably assume that Detroit would lose by 70 to Dak Prescott and the Cowboys in the wild-card round, but if the Lions get in the playoffs because 36 things went their way over the final five weeks of the season, there's a zero percent chance I'll be betting against them in that game.