NFL playoff picture: Lions fall out of first place in NFC North

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

In order to take back control of first place in the NFC North, the Detroit Lions have to win on Monday night.

The Detroit Lions did not play on Sunday, but it was a rough day for them thanks to what some of the other teams in the NFC North did. The Chicago Bears came back and beat the Cleveland Browns before the Green Bay Packers put together a crazy rally to defeat the Dallas Cowboys. As a result, the Bears are now in sole possession of first place in the NFC North. The good news is a win on Monday night against the Baltimore Ravens will put the Lions back in first place, but a loss will drop them to third in the division.

Here's a look at the current NFC playoff picture:

  1. Seattle Seahawks (12-2)
  2. New Orleans Saints (10-4)
  3. Philadelphia Eagles (8-6)
  4. Chicago Bears (8-6)
  5. Carolina Panthers (10-4)
  6. San Francisco 49ers (10-4)
  7. Arizona Cardinals (9-5)
  8. Detroit Lions (7-6)
  9. Green Bay Packers (7-6-1)
  10. Dallas Cowboys (7-7)

Bye: Seahawks, Saints | Wild-card round: Eagles vs. 49ers, Bears vs. Panthers

Given that the Bears are 8-6 and the Packers are just behind at 7-6-1, and considering that Jay Cutler is back and Aaron Rodgers should be back in Week 16, the Lions very well may have to win out to clinch the NFC North title. They still control their own destiny, but they can no longer afford to drop a game here or there and still escape with first place in hand. At this point, the Lions need to actually do their part and show they deserve to win this division by taking care of business in the final three games of the season.

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