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NFL playoff picture: Which seed will the Lions end up with?

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We know the Detroit Lions are in the playoffs, but which seed will they end up with? Let's examine the options.

David Banks/Getty Images

Aside from the representative from the NFC South, we know which teams are headed to the playoffs in the NFC. What we don't know just yet is how each team will be seeded, but here's a look at where things stand going into Week 17:

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

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

As you can see, the Detroit Lions still have the No. 2 seed, but that doesn't mean much with the Green Bay Packers on the schedule this week. The winner of that game will take the NFC North title and a first-round bye, and the winner of that game could even take the No. 1 seed in the NFC. On the flip side, the loser of that game will drop all the way to the sixth seed in the NFC. There are a lot of different possibilities here, so let's run down the Lions' options from a seeding standpoint.

No. 1 seed

To get the top seed, the Lions need to win and hope that the Seattle Seahawks lose or tie at home against the St. Louis Rams and the Arizona Cardinals lose or tie on the road against the San Francisco 49ers. There's also a scenario where the Lions could tie the Packers and still get the top seed, but that would require a Seahawks loss, a Cardinals loss and a Dallas Cowboys loss or tie at the Washington Redskins.

No. 2 seed

If the Lions simply beat the Packers and don't get any help in those aforementioned NFC West games, they will clinch the No. 2 seed, which would still give them a first-round bye. The Lions could also tie the Packers and still get the No. 2 seed, but they would need the Cowboys to lose or tie or both the Seahawks and Cardinals to lose.

No. 3 seed

The only way the Lions can end up with the No. 3 seed is if they tie the Packers. This scenario also requires a Cowboys win and a win or tie by one of the playoff teams from the NFC West. In other words, a lot would have to happen for the Lions to land at this spot in the playoff picture.

No. 4 seed

It's not possible for the Lions to end up with the fourth seed. It's going to the NFC South champion (the Carolina Panthers or Atlanta Falcons).

No. 5 seed

It's also not possible for the Lions to end up with the fifth seed. That's because both the Seahawks and Cardinals have the edge over the Lions if there's a tie. Since we know one of those teams will take a wild-card spot and will at worst have an 11-5 record, there's no scenario where the Lions could come in second in the NFC North but still finish ahead of the second-place team from the NFC West.

No. 6 seed

If the Lions lose to the Packers, they will drop to the sixth seed. This would put them on the road against the No. 3 seed in the wild-card round of the playoffs.