Lions clinch division for first time since 1993 with win vs. Vikings: What’s next for playoff seeding?

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  Jahmyr Gibbs #26 of nan Detroit Lions scores a rushing touchdown against Mekhi Blackmon #5 of nan Minnesota Vikings during nan 2nd 4th astatine U.S. Bank Stadium connected December 24, 2023 successful Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions are heading backmost to nan playoffs. With a 30-24 triumph against nan Minnesota Vikings connected Sunday, Detroit clinched nan NFC North and punched its summons to nan postseason for nan first clip since 2016. The squad has made nan playoffs conscionable 3 different times since 1999.

The Lions secured their first 10-win play since 2014 pinch their Week 15 triumph complete nan Denver Broncos. Detroit entered Week 16 pinch a three-game lead complete Minnesota successful nan NFC North and needed conscionable 1 triumph successful nan remaining weeks to unafraid their first section title since 1993.

Once successful nan playoffs, nan Lions will beryllium looking to triumph their first playoff crippled since 1991, erstwhile they reached nan NFC Championship Game connected nan backmost of Barry Sanders. The 2023 Lions person built their playoff run connected nan limb of Jared Goff — who ranks 3rd successful nan NFL successful passing yards aft Week 16 — and pinch nan second-most rushing yards per crippled successful nan league.

Lions coach Dan Campbell has now led nan Lions to 2 winning seasons and a playoff berth successful his first 3 seasons successful Detroit. Of nan 10 full-time and interim coaches to lead Detroit since Bobby Ross resigned successful 1999, only Jim Caldwell has put together aggregate winning seasons pinch nan team.

Detroit earned nan postseason spot Sunday aft different large capacity by its offense. Goff threw for 250 yards and a touchdown and moving backmost Jahmyr Gibbs added 80 yards and 2 scores connected nan ground.

Minnesota played astir of nan matchup without 2 cardinal violative weapons, arsenic tight extremity T.J. Hockenson and receiver Jordan Addison were some ruled retired pinch injuries.

Addison injured his ankle aft a collision pinch a teammate while trying to tackle Lions information Kerby Joseph pursuing an interception successful nan 2nd quarter. Hockenson was deed difficult by Joseph aft making a drawback midway done nan 3rd 4th and suffered a knee wounded connected nan play.

Vikings separator D.J. Wonnum was besides carted disconnected nan section early successful nan 4th fourth and ruled out.

Addison, who stepped up for Minnesota erstwhile prima receiver Justin Jefferson went down pinch a hamstring wounded successful Week 5, led nan squad pinch 9 touchdowns entering Sunday. Hockenson paces nan Vikings pinch 902 receiving yards this play and besides contributed 5 scores.

NFL Week 16 scores: Live updates, schedule, wounded report, news, playoff standings and highlights

The Lions really did it

After 30 long, agelong years, nan Lions are section champs. This is what nan Lions group retired to do this year. When Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes arrived, they hoped they’d section a squad tin of winning nan section by Year 3. The first year, a 3-13-1 season, was astir mounting nan foundation. The 2nd year, 9-8, was astir learning really to win. This year, 11 wins and counting, was astir doing nan damn thing.

The Lions tin now opportunity they’ve done it. It wasn’t easy, needing a late-game interception from Ifeatu Melifonwu to clinch it, but nan Lions held disconnected a scrappy Vikings squad to look pinch nan triumph and an NFC North title.

The Lions are now 11-4, and tin look up to nan playoffs. Seeding is still successful play, arsenic nan Lions tin clinch nan No. 2 seed if they triumph out, and person an extracurricular changeable astatine nan No. 1 seed if nan 49ers suffer 2 of their last three. But that’s not arsenic important arsenic this moment. The Lions are backmost successful nan playoffs, they’re backmost connected apical of nan section and a typical play continues. — Colton Pouncy, Lions hit writer

How Detroit will fare successful postseason

The Lions’ play has ever been astir winning nan NFC North. The past squad to do that was nan 1993 Lions, truthful nan metropolis has been waiting patiently for a winner. The advancement nan squad displayed precocious past year, going 8-2 successful their last 10 games, group things up for what we’re seeing now — a 11-4 squad that’s conscionable astir fresh for nan postseason. When nan Lions are connected apical of their game, they’re a difficult squad to beat.

They person an discourtesy that tin hit you successful aggregate ways, a defense that defends nan tally and is getting cardinal pieces backmost and a coaching unit afloat of erstwhile players who’ve played successful large games. The Lions look tin of hanging pinch conscionable astir anyone, which should make for a fascinating January. — Pouncy

Justin Jefferson gave nan Vikings a chance

Jefferson hauled successful a area way toward nan sideline connected third-and-27. He absorbed monolithic hits connected catches complete nan middle. He dove and snagged nan team’s 2nd touchdown connected Minnesota’s scoring thrust correct earlier halftime. The effort explains his image astatine nan end. Quarterback Nick Mullens, who had been gunslinging each day, attempted a walk to Jefferson connected a crosser. The shot wobbled into nan aerial and was intercepted. The consequence ended what would person been an improbable comeback attempt. Jefferson sank to his knees connected nan field. Teammates attempted to assistance his spirits. Frustration defines his play — a hamstring injury, watching Kirk Cousins tear his Achilles, falling to 7-8. Sunday’s consequence conscionable adds to nan frustration. — Alec Lewis, Vikings hit writer

Vikings defense comes up short

Defensive coordinator Brian Flores worked magic each season, but nan Lions airs a difficult test. Minnesota knew it would and prepared for nan arena that it had to people a bevy of points. The Lions’ violative line, accomplishment players and Goff run calmly and pinch experience. Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson has coordinated nan portion exceptionally well, and aggregate Vikings players explained postgame that they knew it would beryllium a difficult test.

Goff vanished pinch a 75 percent completion percentage. Most of his throws were completed successful swaths of abstraction successful zones. Meanwhile, Gibbs ran for 80 yards connected 15 carries. The wide ratio and explosiveness proved to beryllium excessively overmuch to overcome. — Lewis

Required reading

  • NFL Power Rankings Week 16: 49ers, Ravens connected top, positive a astonishment from each team
  • Why it’s not adjacent to blasted Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell for team’s caller losses
  • Lions’ C.J. Gardner-Johnson is back, pinch plentifulness to say: ‘I’ll show nan story’
  • The whirlwind recruitment of assemblage football’s first can’t-miss prospect

(Photo: Stephen Maturen / Getty Images)

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