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NFL playoff picture: Lions jump back into first place

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The Detroit Lions are back on top of the NFC North, and they're currently in position for a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Leon Halip/Getty Images

With two weeks left in the 2014 regular season, the Detroit Lions are in first place in the NFC North and are in line for a first-round bye in the playoffs. I'll let that sink in for a second...

The Lions returned to the top of the NFC North with a big assist from the Buffalo Bills. The Lions took care of business with a 16-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings, and the Bills beat the Green Bay Packers earlier in the day by a score of 21-13. As a result, the Lions and Packers now have the same record, and Detroit still owns the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Lions also own the tiebreaker over the Dallas Cowboys, meaning they have the No. 2 seed in the conference going into Week 16.

  1. Arizona Cardinals (11-3) *NFC West champion*
  2. Detroit Lions (10-4) *NFC North champion*
  3. Dallas Cowboys (10-4) *NFC East champion*
  4. Carolina Panthers (5-8-1) *NFC South champion*
  5. Seattle Seahawks (10-4) *Wild card*
  6. Green Bay Packers (10-4) *Wild card*
  7. Philadelphia Eagles (9-5)

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

The Lions have put themselves in an extremely good position. Even with a loss next week, they would still play for the NFC North title in Week 17. With a win next week, on the other hand, they would clinch a playoff spot. And with a win and a Green Bay loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Lions would be NFC North champions before Week 17 even begins.