NFL playoff picture: Where Lions stand in NFC

Gregory Shamus

It's time to start talking playoffs for the Detroit Lions.

With the Detroit Lions going 5-3 in the first half of the 2013 season, they have positioned themselves quite well in the NFC playoff picture. Yes, there's still half a season left to be played, but it's time to really start thinking about the playoffs, as the Lions currently hold the No. 6 seed in the NFC:

  1. Seattle Seahawks (7-1)
  2. New Orleans Saints (6-1)
  3. Green Bay Packers (5-2)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (4-4)
  5. San Francisco 49ers (6-2)
  6. Detroit Lions (5-3)
  7. Carolina Panthers (4-3)
  8. Chicago Bears (4-3)
  9. Arizona Cardinals (4-4)

With the Packers winning on Sunday and not looking likely to lose any time soon, they are in control of the NFC North and have the No. 3 seed as a result. The 49ers are ahead of the Lions in the wild-card hunt, meaning Detroit would be matched up with Green Bay if the season ended today.

At this point, it looks like only three teams are really threats to the Lions' wild-card spot: the Panthers, Bears and Cardinals. Carolina has won three games in a row to get to 4-3, but they have a tough stretch coming up with games against the Atlanta Falcons, 49ers and New England Patriots. The injury-plagued Bears also have a tough stretch coming up with games against the Packers and Lions. Things are a bit easier for the Cardinals in the immediate future with the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars on the schedule next, but they still have to play the Indianapolis Colts and the Seahawks and 49ers to close out the season.

Considering the Lions have the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL, this should be a playoff team. If they win the games they're supposed to in the second half of the season, we won't even have to worry too much about what the Panthers, Bears and Cardinals do. There's no guarantee that will happen, though, so going forward it'll be worth keeping an eye on those three teams. And for potential seeding purposes, it'll obviously be worth keeping a close eye on the Packers and 49ers.

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