The Detroit Lions enter the NFL playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the NFC, which raises the question of how third seeds have fared in the playoffs.
Utilizing NFL.com, BetMichigan.com – your source for Michigan sports betting - looked at how NFC teams fared in the postseason as the No. 3 seed. The research includes the playoffs since the 2000-01 season. Over that period, there have been 23 NFC teams that have begun the playoffs as the conference’s No. 3 seed.
Performance of NFC No. 3 Seeds (Since 2000)
Lions Begin Playoff Run
The Lions’ Super Bowl odds kept growing on the way to a 12-5 season that earned them the NFC North title. For overall record, they tied the No. 1 seed San Francisco 49ers (12-5) and the No. 2 seed Dallas Cowboys (12-5).
Detroit begins the playoffs at home Sunday night against the Los Angeles Rams (10-7), the second-place team in the NFC West and the conference’s No. 6 seed. ESPN Bet Michigan lists the Lions as a 3-point and -175 moneyline favorite.
The matchup has a subplot of current Rams quarterback Matt Stafford returning to Detroit to play against the Lions, his team for 12 seasons before being traded to Los Angeles. He’s been with the Rams for three seasons and helped them win the Super Bowl following the 2021 season.
Reviewing the performances of No. 3 seeds, teams with that playoff position have done reasonably well in the wild card round but have faltered badly after the first win. The No. 3 seeds have won in the wild card round 11 of 23 times, for a 47.8% winning percentage. The NFL playoffs were altered to include a No. 7 seed in 2020-21, which slightly alters the data.
However, those No. 3 seeds that made it through their first-round game generally stumbled. On two of the wild card winners (8.7%) went on to win in the Divisional Round, just one won in the Championship Round and none won the Super Bowl. BetMGM Michigan has the Lions at +2000 to win the Super Bowl, which is eighth among the 14 playoff teams.
This is Detroit’s first trip to the playoffs since 2016. Following that season, they lost in the wild card round to Washington. In fact, the Lions lost in the wild card round the last eight times they made the playoffs going back to 1993. In 1991, the Lions advanced to the Conference Championship game but failed to make it to the Super Bowl when they lost to Washington, 41-10. Washington went on to beat Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVI. The Lions never have been to the Super Bowl and last won the NFL Championship in 1957.
BetMichigan.com will be watching the Lions from a sports betting perspective during the playoffs as well as providing the best Michigan sportsbook promos.