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NFL playoff picture: Lions hold on to No. 3 seed in NFC

The Detroit Lions remain third in the NFC playoff picture despite Sunday's loss.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The story for the NFC playoff picture is the same as last week for the Detroit Lions. Despite suffering a loss, the Lions are still amazingly slotted in as the No. 3 seed. They hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Dallas Cowboys, which are currently leading the NFC East, and for now, they are matched up with the Arizona Cardinals (pending the result of Monday night's San Francisco 49ers game). Here's the full rundown:

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

Bye: Seahawks, Saints | Wild-card round: Lions vs. Cardinals, Cowboys vs. Panthers

The Lions can thank the NFC North's general awfulness for staying in first place in the division. The Chicago Bears lost on Sunday, and the Green Bay Packers tied the Minnesota Vikings. As a result, the Lions and Bears are still technically tied, but Detroit owns the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Packers, meanwhile, are half a game out of first thanks to their tie.

Given the way the NFC wild-card race looks at this point, the Lions' chances of making the playoffs without winning the division don't seem very good. It's way too early to say for sure that it's division title or bust, but it's starting to look that way. This only further emphasizes how important Thursday's game is between the Lions and Packers.

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