The Detroit Lions' ugly loss to the Chicago Bears has dampened the spirits of fans and diminished their hopes of a playoff run, to say the least. Not only did the loss give the Lions their third in four games, but it also evened things up a bit in the hunt for a spot in the playoffs. The Lions and Bears now both sit at 6-3, and with two 5-4 teams right behind them, the Lions no longer have much room for error during the rest of the season.
As bad as things look in the eyes of some, it's important to note that the Lions would make the playoffs if the season ended today. The loss to the Bears certainly made securing a playoff spot tougher, but the Lions would actually still be the fifth seed if the playoffs started this week. Take a look at the playoff picture after the jump.
1. Green Bay Packers (9-0)
2. San Francisco 49ers (8-1)
3. New Orleans Saints (7-3)
4. New York Giants (6-3)
5. Detroit Lions (6-3)
6. Chicago Bears (6-3)
First-round bye: Packers, 49ers
Saints vs. Bears
Giants vs. Lions
Since the Lions and Bears split their two games, the head-to-head tiebreaker does not apply. The next tiebreaker for the wild card between two teams from the same division is divisional record. Right now the Lions are 2-1 against NFC North teams and the Bears are 2-2. As a result, the Lions get the nod for the fifth seed right now.
Obviously a lot of football still has to be played, but the Lions are in pretty good shape all things considered. Right now they are one of the two teams in position to secure a wild card bid, and they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Dallas Cowboys, one of the 5-4 teams behind them. The other 5-4 team, the Falcons, holds the tiebreaker over the Lions, but right now they are Detroit's only real threat as far as positioning in the NFC goes.