My apologies if I missed a post on this already and am accidentally rehashing an already much discussed subject. That said, I've looked at records and schedules and have come to the conclusion that 10 wins guarantees the Lions at least the 6th seed. My proof after the jump.
First, let me state that this post presumes that Atlanta will be the 5 seed because their remaining schedule is reasonably soft. This leaves the NFC West, East, and our own North to deal with. The 49ers have the West locked up. The Seahawks are in second with 6 wins. With three games left, the best they can do is a 9-7 record. 10 wins eliminates them. In the East, the Giants lead the Cowboys, but both have 7 wins currently. The best case scenario for those teams is going in to week 17 with 9 wins each. Their final game is against each other so if both win their next two games the last game will be for the Division Championship. The winner will have 10 wins and be in the playoffs automatically and the loser will only have 9 wins. 10 wins eliminates them. Now for our own division. Green Bay has it locked up and Minnesota is so bad they haven't even risen to the level of non-factor. That leaves us and the Bears. We have 8 wins and the Bears only have 7. Thank you Broncos for that. We both have three games to play and we both play Green Bay. With no Cutler or Forte there is no way the Bears beat the Pack. It just won't happen. That means the best they can finish with is 9 wins. 10 wins eliminates them. So we go to Oakland and win and then come back home and beat the Chargers on Christmas Eve and we are guaranteed at least the 6 seed and are playing our first playoff game since the 90's.