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NFL playoff picture: Lions drop to No. 4 seed in NFC

Thanks to their loss on Sunday, the Detroit Lions now control the No. 4 seed in the NFC.

Jeffrey G. Pittenger-USA TODAY S

Yet again, the Detroit Lions failed to take advantage of their cushion in the NFC North. Had they won on Sunday, they could have been in position to clinch the division title in Week 15, but instead, thanks to their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Lions' breathing room has once again disappeared. The Green Bay Packers are now just half a game back, and the Lions are now in control of the No. 4 seed in the latest NFC playoff picture. Take a look:

  1. Seattle Seahawks (11-2)
  2. New Orleans Saints (10-3)
  3. Philadelphia Eagles (8-5)
  4. Detroit Lions (7-6)
  5. Carolina Panthers (9-4)
  6. San Francisco 49ers (9-4)
  7. Arizona Cardinals (8-5)
  8. Dallas Cowboys (7-5)
  9. Chicago Bears (6-6)
  10. Green Bay Packers (6-6-1)

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

The Lions are now behind the NFC East leader in the playoff picture, meaning they are currently matched up with the Carolina Panthers. This also means that unless there is an upset in the other game in the wild-card round, the Lions would be in line to play the Seattle Seahawks on the road should they get past the Panthers.

Of course, worrying about potential matchups and possible divisional-round games could turn out to be pretty pointless. The Lions have to win the NFC North for that speculation to even matter, and that's no sure thing with the Packers now right behind them in the standings. The Lions still control their own destiny, but they've had to rely far too much on help from other teams to even be in this position. To remain atop the NFC North, they need to start consistently playing like a team that actually wants to win its division.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.