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What the Lions win over Broncos in Week 15 means for the NFL playoff picture

The Lions crushed the Broncos to firm up their NFC North position. We break down what it means for the NFC and AFC playoff picture.

Sam LaPorta #87 of the Detroit Lions celebrates his touchdown catch with Dan Skipper #70 during the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Ford Field on December 16, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions wrapped up the NFL’s Week 15 Saturday tripleheader with a romp over the Denver Broncos. Jared Goff threw five touchdown passes, including three to rookie tight end Sam LaPorta in a 42-17 win. Detroit jumped on top 21-0 in the second quarter and never looked back.

The Lions improved 10-4 with the win and moved to three games up on the Vikings in the NFC North. The Vikings lost to the Bengals earlier on Saturday to drop to 7-7. The Lions remain in third place overall, a half game back of the Cowboys and 49ers in the overall NFC standings. Detroit cannot clinch the NFC North for another week, but they can clinch a playoff berth with some help on Sunday. There are a variety of scenarios in play, but the simplest involves the Seahawks losing. If Seattle loses, Detroit officially punches its ticket to the postseason.

The Broncos dropped to 7-7 with the loss and are now 1.5 games back of the Chiefs in the AFC West. Kansas City travels to New England on Sunday and a win would move them two up in the division with three weeks remaining. Denver drops to 11th place overall, tied with the Steelers and a a full game back of the Bengals and Colts for the final two wild card berths.

The Lions host the Vikings in Week 15 with a chance to clinch the NFC North title. The Broncos host the Patriots looking to keep their struggling playoff hopes alive.