NFL Playoff Picture: Lions In Position To Clinch No. 5 Seed In NFC

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 24: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions slaps hands with teammate Ndamukong Suh #90 after a NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at Ford Field on December 24, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions won 38-10. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

With the Atlanta Falcons falling to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night, the Detroit Lions are in sole possession of the No. 5 seed in the NFC. They had been tied with the Falcons for a while, and since Atlanta owns the head-to-head tiebreaker, the Lions hadn't been able to get up to No. 5 in the NFC. With the Falcons now 9-6 on the season and the Lions 10-5, Detroit is the owner of the fifth seed going into Week 17.

A look at the current NFC playoff picture is after the jump.

Seeds

1. Green Bay Packers (14-1)

2. San Francisco 49ers (12-3)

3. New Orleans Saints (12-3)

4. New York Giants/Dallas Cowboys (8-7)

5. Detroit Lions (10-5)

6. Atlanta Falcons (9-6)

Matchups

First-round bye: Packers, 49ers

Saints vs. Falcons

Giants/Cowboys vs. Lions

If the Lions win on Sunday against the Packers or if the Falcons lose on Sunday against the Buccaneers, Detroit will clinch the No. 5 seed. This would match them up against the winner of the NFC East, which will be the winner of Sunday night's game between the Giants and Cowboys. Essentially, it is a play-in game to host the No. 5 seed in the wild-card round.

Considering the No. 6 seed likely will have to play the Saints at the Superdome, the importance of a win on Sunday and getting the No. 5 seed can't be overlooked. The Lions' chances of picking up their second playoff win since 1957 seem much better against the Giants or Cowboys than the Saints (or even the 49ers, for that matter). Plus, it would be nice for the Lions to end their losing streak at Green Bay in the process and keep their momentum going into the playoffs.

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