NFL playoff picture: Lions remain No. 3 seed in NFC

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions are still the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoff picture thanks to their win over the Chicago Bears.

Sunday's win over the Chicago Bears was big for a number of reasons. For starters, the victory gave the Detroit Lions sole possession of first place in the NFC North. That alone is quite important, but it was also big because the wild-card race in the NFC is starting to get pretty competitive. Take a look at where things stand in the latest NFC playoff picture:

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

Matchups:

Bye: Seahawks, Saints
Wild-card round: Lions vs. 49ers, Cowboys vs. Panthers

With the Panthers and Cardinals both winning on Sunday, the Lions didn't get a lot of help in the wild-card race. They don't necessarily need it right now with them leading the NFC North, but as a fallback option, it's something to keep in mind. Then again, with the way things are shaping up, the Lions may have to win the division to make the playoffs at all, so perhaps the wild-card race won't be all that relevant by season's end.

If the Lions keep winning and the Packers and Bears fall behind even more in the NFC North, the bigger concern could really end up being seeding as the season progresses. The Lions hold the No. 3 seed right now, and they could use some help from future Saints opponents to open the door for the No. 2 seed. A first-round bye would be a dream scenario for the Lions when it comes to the playoffs, but it'll only be a realistic possibility if New Orleans starts losing some games.

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