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NFL playoff picture: Lions still second in NFC despite loss

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Despite losing on Sunday, the Detroit Lions are still in control of the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

Norm Hall

The Detroit Lions missed out on a chance to take control of the top seed in the NFC on Sunday with their loss to the Arizona Cardinals. To make matters worse, the Green Bay Packers destroyed the Philadelphia Eagles, meaning they now have the same record as the Lions at 7-3. The Lions and Packers are now tied for first place in the NFC North, but Detroit still technically owns the top spot in the division when it comes to the playoff picture thanks to their head-to-head win earlier in the season. Take a look:

  1. Arizona Cardinals (9-1) *NFC West champion*
  2. Detroit Lions (7-3) *NFC North champion*
  3. Philadelphia Eagles (7-3) *NFC East champion*
  4. Atlanta Falcons (4-6) *NFC South champion*
  5. Green Bay Packers (7-3) *Wild card*
  6. Dallas Cowboys (7-3) *Wild card*
  7. San Francisco 49ers (6-4)
  8. Seattle Seahawks (6-4)

Bye: Cardinals, Lions | Wild-card round: Eagles vs. Cowboys, Falcons vs. Packers

In addition to remaining atop the NFC North, the Lions still control the No. 2 seed in the NFC since they have a better conference record than the Eagles (5-2 > 4-3). Everything is a lot tighter now with the Lions losing, but they would still have a first-round bye if the season ended today. And interestingly enough, the Packers would be forced to go on the road to play a team that is currently under .500 thanks to the NFC South being so terrible.

Looking ahead to Week 12, the Lions have to go on the road to play the New England Patriots, while the Packers are at the Minnesota Vikings. Given those matchups, it would really be surprising if the Packers don't move ahead of the Lions in the NFC North. The Lions are going to have a tough time winning at New England, so they really need the Vikings to do them a solid by upsetting Green Bay. That doesn't exactly seem likely, but hey, stranger things have happened.