Detroit Lions: playoff picture

This is a weekly look at the NFC playoff picture as it relates to the Detroit Lions.

For the first time since November, the Detroit Lions will enter a week of the season without control of their own fate for a playoff spot. The bad part for them, of course, is that there are only two weeks left in the season.

The Lions’ 18-16 loss to Baltimore on Monday night, combined with wins by Chicago and Green Bay on Sunday, knocked Detroit to third place in the NFC North and the will need help category for any shot of the playoffs.

One thing is clear for Detroit: The Lions have to beat both the New York Giants and Minnesota to have any chance at the playoffs. Even if the Lions win both of those games, it might not end up being enough.

The path to the playoffs is simple to explain for Detroit. Win both games and have both the Packers and the Bears lose at least one game. If somehow Chicago and Green Bay both lose in Week 16 and the Lions win, they are once again in a win-and-in scenario. If both Chicago and Green Bay win on Sunday, the Lions are eliminated no matter what happens.

Detroit
Record: 7-7
Remaining opponents record: 9-18-1
Games left: vs. New York Giants, at Minnesota

NFC North:
Chicago
Record: 8-6
Remaining opponents record: 15-12-1
Games left: at Philadelphia, vs. Green Bay.
Lions interests: The Lions need the Bears to lose at least one of their last two games -- and almost definitely need Chicago to drop its game at Philadelphia on Sunday. The best case scenario here would be for the Bears to lose to the Eagles and then to beat Green Bay in the final week of the season because that would leave Chicago at 9-7. If that happens and the Lions win out, then the Lions would be in the playoffs.

Green Bay
Record: 7-6-1
Remaining opponents record: 14-14
Remaining games: vs. Pittsburgh, at Chicago
Lions interests: Like the Bears, the Lions need the Packers to drop at least one of their last two games to have a shot at the playoffs. That Green Bay in in this position -- win out and make the playoffs -- is somewhat amazing considering the Packers have been without Aaron Rodgers for the entirety of this run. But the best news for Detroit here would be, like Chicago, to see the Packers lose to Pittsburgh on Sunday. This would set up an elimination game in Week 17 against the Bears.

Detroit Lions rooting interests

December, 15, 2013
12/15/13
11:15
AM ET
At this point in the season, this is a pretty simple exercise for the Detroit Lions. With where they are currently positioned, with a wild card an extremely, extremely unlikely possibility, there are only two teams for Detroit to pay attention to.

Chicago. And Green Bay.

With the Lions playing Monday night against Baltimore, they'll also know exactly where they stand before they take the field.

Chicago at Cleveland: The Lions want the Browns to win for one simple reason. If Chicago loses, it takes a small amount of pressure off of Detroit on Monday night as far as keeping pace with the Bears. It also gives the Lions a huge opportunity to put distance between themselves and the second-place team in the division with two weeks remaining.

Green Bay at Dallas: The Lions want Dallas to win for two reasons. First, a Cowboys win would severely diminish Green Bay's hopes of pulling off a divisional title if either Chicago or Detroit win, dropping the Packers below .500. Second, if Dallas ends up winning the NFC East and Detroit wins the NFC North, as long as they have the same record, the Lions would be the No. 3 seed. This would mean facing the No. 6 seed in the wild-card round and keeping them away from the No. 1 seed (probably Seattle) in the divisional round if they won a playoff game.

Philadelphia at Minnesota: Tying in what was mentioned in the Dallas scenario, the Lions would love to see a Minnesota upset over the Eagles, because if Dallas and Minnesota win, then the Eagles and Cowboys are once again tied atop the NFC East and that would make a difference in seeding for Detroit if it makes the playoffs.
This is a weekly look at the NFC playoff picture as it relates to the Detroit Lions.

It is a division title or bust now for the Lions.

With the Lions -- and Bears -- now two games back of Carolina and San Francisco for the wild-card berths in the NFC with three games to play, any chance of losing a divisional title and still making the playoffs is infinitesimal.

The good news for Detroit is it would still be in the playoffs if the season ended today. The bad news is the Lions have lost three of four games and still have three games left this season.

So it is a three-team race for essentially one playoff spot.

Detroit
Record: 7-6
Remaining opponents' record: 15-23-1
Next game: Monday vs. Baltimore
Remaining games: vs. Baltimore, vs. New York Giants, at Minnesota

Chicago
Record: 7-6
Remaining opponents' record: 18-20-1
Next game: Sunday at Cleveland
Remaining games: at Cleveland, at Philadelphia, vs. Green Bay.
Lions' interests: Obviously, the Lions need the Bears to lose to take some pressure off and give them any sort of cushion. The good news for Detroit is the Bears are just 2-4 on the road and have their next two games away from Soldier Field. Now tied again for the divisional lead -- Detroit has the tiebreaker -- Chicago has to keep winning and hope for help.

Green Bay
Record: 6-6-1
Remaining opponents record: 19-20
Next game: Sunday at Dallas
Remaining games: at Dallas, vs. Pittsburgh, at Chicago
Lions interests: The Packers are still on the fringe here, but they stopped their five-game winless skid last week against Atlanta. Green Bay's schedule gets harder from here, facing fellow playoff contenders Dallas and Chicago on the road in two of the final three weeks. Green Bay still needs a lot of help to make the playoffs. The Packers need to win and have a combination of Bears and Lions losses. What might help Green Bay? Aaron Rodgers seems like he could end up returning at some point this season, so if the Packers can stay in the race until then, they’ll have a huge weapon for the end of the season.
This is a weekly look at the NFC playoff picture as it relates to the Detroit Lions.

Seattle and New Orleans play Monday night and, for the purposes of Detroit’s initial playoff picture, don’t have a lot to do with the Lions and where they could end up at first.

The game could, though, matter down the road.

But for now, we’ll focus on what it will take for the Lions to reach the playoffs. It’s a pretty clear path now. Detroit is alone in first place in the NFC North because Minnesota beat Chicago on Sunday and are three wins away from clinching a divisional title.

There are four games remaining.

Detroit
Record: 7-5
Remaining opponents' record: 21-26-1
Next game: Sunday at Philadelphia
Next three games: at Philadelphia, vs. Baltimore, vs. New York Giants

NFC North:
Chicago Bears
Record: 6-6
Remaining opponents' record: 23-24-1
Next game: Sunday vs. Dallas
Next three games: vs. Dallas, at Cleveland; at Philadelphia
Lions' interests: For divisional purposes, Detroit will want Dallas to beat Chicago. There is a scenario where a Bears win wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world -- mostly to hold on to the No. 3 seed since the Lions (and Bears) are essentially competing with Dallas and Philadelphia for the Nos. 3 and 4 seeds in the NFC playoffs. But right now, in the focus for a home playoff game for Detroit for the first time since 1993, the Lions should want the Cowboys to beat Chicago.

Green Bay Packers
Record: 5-6-1
Remaining opponents' record: 21-27
Next game: Sunday vs. Atlanta
Next three games: vs. Atlanta, at Dallas, vs. Pittsburgh
Lions' interests: More and more, the Packers look like a team that could just spoil a season at this point. Green Bay and Detroit split head-to-head. Technically, the Packers are still alive in this race, but they would need a lot of things to go perfectly -- essentially the Lions and Bears both completely falling apart down the final month of the season.

Wild-card race:
Carolina Panthers
Record: 9-3
Remaining opponents' record: 26-20
Next game: at New Orleans
Next three games: at New Orleans, vs. New York Jets, vs. New Orleans
Lions' interests: More and more, Carolina looks like a legitimate force in the NFC. The Panthers have now won eight games in a row, including knocking off San Francisco and New England during that stretch. Now, two of three games against their divisional rival will determine who will win the NFC South and who will be playing the first weekend of the playoffs. Barring a complete meltdown, Carolina appears in. From a wild card perspective, it would be difficult to see any way the Lions would catch them if they didn’t win the NFC North.

San Francisco 49ers
Record: 8-4
Remaining opponents' record: 23-24
Next game: Sunday vs. Seattle
Next three games: vs. Seattle, at Tampa Bay, vs. Atlanta, at Arizona
Lions' interests: The 49ers, mostly due to Seattle’s dominance this season, appear to be headed toward a wild card berth. They have a one-game lead on Arizona and Philadelphia at this point (and Detroit, too, if it were not leading the division) so for purposes of the Lions, they would like to see the Seahawks knock off the 49ers on Sunday in San Francisco to keep them from getting too far ahead of Detroit, record-wise.

Philadelphia Eagles
Record: 7-5
Remaining opponents' record: 23-24-1
Next game: Sunday vs. Detroit
Next three games: vs. Detroit, at Minnesota, vs. Chicago
Lions' interests: Simply, win, but that is not surprising at all considering the Lions are actually playing the Eagles on Sunday. But Philadelphia is one of the hottest teams in the league, so the win isn’t just important because it'd be another win for the Lions. It would also give the Lions a potential necessary tiebreaker against the Eagles for the No. 3 or No. 4 seed -- or for a wild-card berth if it somehow came to that. Big game Sunday for Detroit.

Arizona Cardinals
Record: 7-5
Remaining opponents' record: 28-19
Next game: Sunday vs. St. Louis
Next three games: vs. St. Louis, at Tennessee, at Seattle
Lions' interests: Good luck, Arizona. The Cardinals might have the toughest finishing stretch in the league, and now that they are trailing San Francisco by a game for the last wild-card berth, things could get dicey for Arizona's playoff chances. The Cardinals hold the wild-card tiebreaker over the Lions here, but considering what Arizona closes with, it could be in a tough spot by the time it even goes through the Seattle-San Francisco season-ending swing.
For two of the next three Sundays, the Detroit Lions will actually have a rare option. They’ll be able to sit back and watch all the football they want without having to worry about playing a game that day.

After dispatching Green Bay, 40-10, on Thursday, the Lions are now off for the weekend. In two weeks, Baltimore comes to Detroit on a Monday night so they’ll get to watch a bunch of games before knowing the exact implications of that Monday night game.

And this is all just a help, as the Lions have control of their own playoff fate at the moment.

So who should Detroit be pulling for today? Here’s a quick look:

Chicago at Minnesota: This is the easiest of the bunch. Detroit will pull for Minnesota. Hard. An upset by the Vikings would give the Lions the NFC North lead by essentially two games with four to play. In the actual standings, it would be a one-game lead but with the Lions holding the tiebreaker over the Bears due to their sweep of the season series, it is effectively a two-game lead in the division if Minnesota wins.

San Francisco vs. St. Louis: Detroit needs the Rams to pull the upset here. If this happens, the Lions would potentially be in line for a wild-card berth depending what happens the rest of the season. As mentioned above, any sort of wild-card berth seems unlikely, but if Detroit wanted some sort of insurance, it should pull heavily for the Rams.

Arizona at Philadelphia: Detroit wants the Eagles to win for multiple reasons. First, the Cardinals have a tiebreaker edge over the Lions due to their 25-21 win in Week 2. But moreover, Detroit plays Philadelphia next week and the fourth and fifth wild-card tiebreakers are strength of victory and strength of schedule. So facing a better Philadelphia team next Sunday would be beneficial for the Lions, especially if they were then to beat the Eagles.

Tampa Bay at Carolina: This, oddly, is for strength of schedule more than anything else. The Buccaneers upset Detroit for their third straight win. While they are out of the playoff picture, the Bucs can do two things. First, a win over the Panthers would increase Detroit’s strength of schedule and it would also bring Carolina slowly back to the wild-card pack. The Panthers are likely a playoff team, but the more jumble at the end, the better for the Lions or the Bears at this point.
This is a weekly look at the NFC playoff picture as it relates to the Detroit Lions.

Detroit -- and the rest of the NFC North -- is in a bad position right now. For the Lions, the Bears and the Packers, the scenario is simple: Win the NFC North or likely miss the playoffs entirely.

After losses by Detroit and Chicago and a tie by Green Bay, the two of those NFC North teams that don’t win the division are sitting a game back of the sixth seed and two games back of the fifth seed in the wild-card race.

So with five games left, that chance seems unlikely. It’s possible still, sure, but there is little-to-no margin for loss for anyone in the NFC North.

Detroit
Record: 6-5
Remaining opponents record: 22-31-2
Next game: Thursday vs. Green Bay
Next three games: vs. Green Bay, at Philadelphia, vs. Baltimore

NFC North:
Chicago
Record: 6-5
Remaining opponents record: 23-30-2
Next game: Sunday at Minnesota
Next three games: at Minnesota, vs. Dallas, at Cleveland
Lions' interests: Right now, the Lions have to at least keep pace with the Bears and that begins Thursday against Green Bay. The good news for Detroit here is three of the Bears’ next four games are on the road and their remaining two home games are against Dallas and Green Bay in the season finale. The best possible scenario for Detroit is for the Bears to lose out.

Green Bay
Record: 5-5-1
Remaining opponents record: 25-30
Next game: Thursday at Detroit
Next three games: at Detroit, vs. Atlanta, at Dallas
Lions interests: Like the Bears, the Packers have three of their last five games on the road, which is a helpful thing for Detroit. But all that should matter for the Lions right now is beating the Packers on Thursday. The Packers haven’t won in November, so that’s a benefit for Detroit. But if the Lions lose to the Packers, they are in a bad position. Thursday is turning into an elimination game in the league.

Wild-card race:
Carolina
Record: 8-3
Remaining opponents record: 28-27
Next game: vs. Tampa Bay
Next three games: vs. Tampa Bay, at New Orleans, vs. New York Jets
Lions interests: At this point, it might not matter what happens with the Panthers. Carolina, barring a collapse, is a likely playoff team with a one-game lead on San Francisco and Arizona and a two-game lead on everyone else. Two games remain with division-leading New Orleans, but either the Saints or the Panthers are going to likely be the No. 5 seed.

San Francisco
Record: 7-4
Remaining opponents record: 27-28
Next game: Sunday vs. St. Louis
Next three games: vs. St. Louis, vs. Seattle, at Tampa Bay
Lions interests: The 49ers are essentially out of the NFC West race barring a meltdown by Seattle, so San Francisco and Arizona will fight it out for the last wild-card spot. The teams play the final week of the season, so that could be for a playoff berth. What Detroit needs here is a complete collapse by San Francisco to open up a spot.

Arizona
Record: 7-4
Remaining opponents record: 33-22
Next game: Sunday at Philadelphia
Next three games: at Philadelphia; vs. St. Louis; at Tennessee
Lions interests: The Cardinals are doing a lot of good things and if you’re looking for the complete reason why Detroit won’t be in a wild-card spot, look to Week 2. Arizona now has a game and a tiebreak in hand with five games left against the Lions. Like San Francisco above, only a complete meltdown here will open up the No. 6 slot for the Lions, Bears or Packers.
This is a weekly look at the NFC playoff picture as it relates to the Detroit Lions.

The way the NFC is starting to take shape -- and yes, there is a long way to go still -- the NFC North might only get one playoff team this season and for the Lions, that means they better win the division.

Consider, too, that the Lions have never done that before, at least with the division in its current arrangement.

Surging Carolina, consistent New Orleans and San Francisco and a tiebreaker edge for Arizona all are major concerns for the Lions as they start to hit the back end of the season.

Speaking of tiebreakers, that’s also why the Lions are in the playoff hunt right now -- because they hold the tiebreaker over Chicago by sweeping them this year.

Detroit
Record: 6-4
Remaining opponents record: 23-38
Next game: Sunday vs. Tampa Bay
Next three games: vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Green Bay; at Philadelphia

NFC North:
Chicago
Record: 6-4
Remaining opponents record: 26-35
Next game: Sunday at St. Louis
Next three games: at St. Louis, at Minnesota; vs. Dallas
Lions' interests: While it would help Detroit if the Bears could drop at least one of their next two games against teams not really in the playoff picture, as long as Detroit keeps pace with Chicago, the Lions are in decent shape here.

Green Bay
Record: 5-5
Remaining opponents record: 25-35
Next game: Sunday vs. Minnesota
Next three games: vs. Minnesota, at Detroit; vs. Atlanta
Lions' interests: No Aaron Rodgers, but this is a crucial three-game stretch for the Packers if they want to stay in the playoff picture. Minnesota and Atlanta are winnable games and there’s also the Lions on Thanksgiving. Detroit would obviously want to win then and also have Green Bay drop at least one of the other two games.

Wild-card race:
Carolina
Record: 7-3
Remaining opponents record: 30-30
Next game: Sunday at Miami; vs. Tampa Bay
Next three games: at Miami, vs. Tampa Bay; at New Orleans
Lions' interests: Every time it looks like Carolina might fall back in the wild-card race, Cam Newton and his team keep winning. The Panthers have now won six straight games and seven of their last eight after dropping their first two of the season. Carolina still has to face New Orleans twice and those games could decide the division -- but the Panthers look like a clear-cut playoff team now.

San Francisco
Record: 6-4
Remaining opponents record: 27-34
Next game: Monday at Washington
Next three games: at Washington, vs. St. Louis; vs. Seattle
Lions' interests: At this point, Detroit really would like Washington and St. Louis -- or at least one of those teams -- to upset San Francisco, which has lost two straight games. While the 49ers would be an interesting playoff opponent for Detroit, the Lions could use San Francisco to lose two of its next three to give it a decent position should it be in the wild-card race.

Arizona
Record: 6-4
Remaining opponents record: 37-24
Next game: Sunday vs. Indianapolis
Next three games: vs. Indianapolis, at Philadelphia; vs. St. Louis
Lions' interests: Detroit needs Arizona to start losing. Now. The Cardinals have a tiebreaker over both the Lions and the Panthers, but have a really difficult stretch run. They have four potential playoff teams in their final six games -- Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Seattle and San Francisco. But if Detroit is pulling against any team right now other than the Bears and Packers, it should be Arizona because of that tiebreaker.

Lions Playoff Picture: Week 11

November, 11, 2013
11/11/13
11:15
AM ET
This is a weekly look at the NFC playoff picture as it relates to the Detroit Lions.

Detroit put itself in fairly good position Sunday by knocking off Chicago, sweeping the season series and now the Lions have a one-game lead on both the Bears and Green Bay in the NFC North.

They also, in some ways, kept pace with New Orleans as the Lions trail the Saints by one game for a potential bye in the first round of the playoffs. The bigger concern would be what is happening in the wild-card race.

If the season ended today -- the Lions would be the only team from the NFC North in the playoffs and would have to play host to San Francisco instead of Carolina. That would not be a very favorable matchup for Detroit.

But there is still a long way to go between now and the end of the season.

Detroit
Record: 6-3
Remaining opponents record: 22-41
Next game: Sunday at Pittsburgh
Next three games: at Pittsburgh, vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Green Bay

NFC North:
Green Bay
Record: 5-4
Remaining opponents' record: 26-38
Next game: Sunday at New York Giants
Next three games: at Giants, vs. Minnesota, at Detroit
Lions' interests: Green Bay’s quarterback situation is a mess right now and could be until Aaron Rodgers returns, whenever that may be. From a divisional standpoint and a wild-card perspective, a Giants win Sunday would be massive for Detroit.

Chicago
Record: 5-4
Remaining opponents' record: 29-37
Next game: Sunday vs. Baltimore
Next three games: vs. Baltimore, at St. Louis, at Minnesota
Lions' interests: The Bears are in a tough spot when it comes to the divisional race having been swept by Detroit. The bigger chance for them is in the wild-card hunt, but they, like the Packers, need to get their quarterback situation rectified to have a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Unlike Green Bay, though, Josh McCown has proven to be a capable backup to Jay Cutler.

Wild-card race:
San Francisco
Record: 6-3
Remaining opponents' record: 30-34
Next game: Sunday at New Orleans
Next three games: at New Orleans, at Washington, vs. St. Louis
Lions' interests: This is where things get interesting for Detroit. If the season ended today, Jim Harbaugh and crew would be the Lions’ wild-card round opponent, perhaps the worst of any potential matchups for them. A somewhat surprising loss for the 49ers against Carolina put them in this position. The Lions would be best served with a Saints win Sunday because it could cloudy up the playoff wild-card picture even more if the Lions were to lose the division. A 49ers win, though, could give Detroit the beginnings of a shot at a wild-card round bye.

Carolina
Record: 6-3
Remaining opponents' record: 32-29
Next game: Monday vs. New England
Next three games: vs. New England, at Miami, vs. Tampa Bay
Lions' interests: Carolina put itself firmly in the playoff conversation with a win at San Francisco on Sunday, the Panthers’ fifth straight victory. They still have two games left with division-leading New Orleans and the Monday nighter against New England this week, but Carolina is a team that should be in the playoff hunt until the end of the season at the very least.

Arizona
Record: 5-4
Remaining opponents record: 35-31
Next game: Sunday at Jacksonville
Next three games: at Jacksonville, vs. Indianapolis, at Philadelphia
Lions' interests: The Cardinals have the toughest closing stretch of any contender, finishing the season with division rivals Seattle and San Francisco -- including the Seahawks game on the road. If it became a wild-card situation, though, the Cardinals have the tiebreak over Detroit, so Arizona continues to hang around. For now.
This is a weekly look at the NFC playoff picture as it relates to the Detroit Lions.

Detroit heads to Chicago this weekend, eight weeks, eight games to go and right in the middle of the NFC North and, if necessary, the wild-card race.

Yet as of today -- and really, as of this coming Sunday -- Detroit would not be in the playoffs due to a tiebreaker with Carolina, a team the Lions won’t face this year.

But fortunately for Detroit, there is still half a season to play.

Here’s a quick guide to where Detroit’s playoff picture stands right now.

Detroit
Record: 5-3
Remaining opponents' record: 21-42
Next game: Sunday at Chicago
Next three games: at Chicago, at Pittsburgh, vs. Tampa Bay

NFC North Race:
Green Bay
Record: 5-2
Remaining opponents' record: 29-43
Next game: Tonight vs. Chicago
Next three games: vs. Chicago, vs. Philadelphia, at New York Giants
Lions interests: Tonight against Chicago, it is a toss-up. If the Packers beat the Bears, it places the Lions firmly in second place in the division, a game behind Green Bay and a game up on Chicago.

Chicago
Record: 4-3
Remaining opponents' record: 34-39
Next game: Tonight at Green Bay
Next three games: at Green Bay, vs. Detroit, vs. Baltimore
Lions interests: Like mentioned with Green Bay, tonight is a toss-up for Detroit in terms of who winning would help more, especially with Detroit heading to Chicago next week. A Chicago win would create a three-way tie at the top of the division. A Bears loss -- especially if Josh McCown does not play well -- could leave the Bears reeling with the Lions coming to town.

Wild-card race:
San Francisco
Record: 6-2
Remaining opponents' record 31-35
Next game: Sunday vs. Carolina
Next three games: vs. Carolina, at New Orleans, at Washington
Lions interests: In reality, either Seattle or San Francisco will take one of the two wild-card slots and right now, the Seahawks have a one-game edge over the 49ers and the tiebreaker. They are two of the better teams in the NFC and would probably be a favorite over whoever is in the No. 4 slot in the NFC, despite having to be on the road. What the Lions would need to want to push for here is the Niners to lose just enough for them to drop to the No. 6 seed. Detroit, however, could really use a San Francisco win Sunday.

Carolina
Record: 5-3
Remaining opponents' record: 36-30
Next game: Sunday at San Francisco
Next three games: at San Francisco, vs. New England, at Miami
Lions interests: Detroit doesn’t play Carolina, but the Cam Newton-led squad is worth paying attention to. Right now, the Panthers hold a tiebreaker advantage over Detroit, but have a daunting schedule down the stretch. Detroit really wants the 49ers and Patriots to knock off the Panthers the next two weeks. Carolina still has two games against New Orleans on its schedule as well.

Arizona
Record: 4-4
Remaining opponents' record: 33-34
Next game: Sunday vs. Houston
Next three games: vs. Houston, at Jacksonville, vs. Indianapolis
Lions interests: Detroit needs Arizona to fall back in this race quickly. The Cardinals, with that 25-21 win over the Lions in Week 2, have the tiebreaker over Detroit. The good news for the Lions is this -- the Cardinals have three of the NFL’s top teams remaining: Indianapolis and then at Seattle and at home against San Francisco the last two weeks of the season.

Philadelphia
Record: 4-5
Remaining opponents' record: 27-28
Next game: Sunday at Green Bay
Next three games: at Green Bay, vs. Washington, vs. Arizona
Lions interests: Detroit will have some control here as the Lions travel to Philadelphia on Dec. 8. By then, though, Philadelphia could be in a much different position. The Eagles have a fairly favorable schedule the rest of the way -- and still have an off week waiting for them -- and seem to have found a quarterback in Nick Foles. Depending what happens tonight against Chicago, the game against Green Bay on Sunday could be an interesting rooting case for Detroit.
Good morning and RRROOOOOAAARRRR!!!!!

Week 9 in one game from being completed and Detroit, at 5-3 coming off of its bye, is in the middle of a playoff race.

If the playoffs started today, however, the Lions would be watching from home. While eight weeks is an eternity in the NFL, Carolina possesses the tiebreaker over Detroit due to having a better conference record.

For now.

And I'll have more on this later today in a post we'll start having weekly tracking the Lions playoff picture, but Detroit is right in the middle of all of it.

Now on to links from the Interwebs after a quiet bye weekend for the Lions:

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