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Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Playoff Picture: Detroit Lions Week 15

By Michael Rothstein

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.

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

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.