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NFL playoff picture: Where the Lions stand in the NFC

Yes, we're only halfway through the NFL season, but the Detroit Lions are in excellent position in the NFC playoff picture.

Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions are halfway through the 2014 NFL season, and they currently hold the No. 2 seed in the NFC. This means that if the season ended today, the Lions would have a first-round bye and would be guaranteed to host a playoff game at Ford Field in the divisional round. Take a look:

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

There's obviously a lot of football to be played with eight games left for the Lions, but they are in an excellent spot going into their bye week, especially when you consider that the Cardinals and Cowboys play each other on Sunday. Barring a tie, either the Cardinals will fall to 6-2 or the Cowboys will drop to 6-3, meaning one of the top teams in the NFC should add to their loss total while the Lions sit at home on their bye week.

Taking a larger view of the playoff picture for the NFC, it really seems like only four teams are true contenders for the two wild-card spots at this point. The Eagles and Packers currently hold those two spots, but the 49ers and Seahawks are just behind them. I suppose we shouldn't completely forget about the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants, which are both 3-4, but only the Saints seem like a real threat to make the playoffs, and their path to the postseason will almost certainly involve winning the NFC South anyway.

Again, there's a lot of football to be played, and as we found out last year, a lot can go wrong in the second half of the season. Even so, it's quite nice to see the Lions near the top of the NFC with one half of the season in the books.

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