The Detroit Lions are in control of the No. 6 seed in the NFC going into Week 14. A lot could change depending on what happens this week, though, so let's take a look at which teams you should root for.
In a battle of first-place teams -- yes, seriously -- it'd be nice for the Lions if the top dog in the NFC South comes out on top. In the long run, it may not alter the stakes for the Lions' Week 17 showdown with Green Bay, but it would give Detroit some margin for error going forward.
Root for: Falcons
With the Cardinals dropping back-to-back games, the No. 1 seed in the NFC is suddenly up for grabs. If the Cardinals' losing ways continue, perhaps that Week 17 matchup between the Packers and Lions will decide more than just the NFC North champion.
Root for: Chiefs
These two teams are playing on a Thursday for the second week in a row, and this week a Bears win would benefit the Lions, as it would push the Cowboys another step behind in the wild-card race.
Root for: Bears
If you're confident in the Lions' ability to win out, then you want a Seahawks victory. A Seattle win would drop the Eagles back to the Lions' level from a record standpoint, thus opening the door for a first-round bye.
If you are like me and are more concerned with the Lions simply getting into the playoffs, then an Eagles win is the desired outcome here. That's because the Lions won't win the tiebreaker if they finish with the same record as the Seahawks, so having Seattle drop a game to fall behind in the wild-card race would be quite nice.
Root for: Eagles
As unlikely as it seems, a Raiders win would likely crush whatever playoff hopes remain for the 49ers.
Root for: Raiders
If the Lions beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and everything else goes according to plan, the NFC playoff picture will look something like this going into Week 15:
- Philadelphia Eagles (10-3) *NFC East champion*
- Arizona Cardinals (9-4) *NFC West champion*
- Detroit Lions (9-4) *NFC North champion*
- Atlanta Falcons (6-7) *NFC South champion*
- Green Bay Packers (9-4) *Wild card*
- Dallas Cowboys (8-5) *Wild card*
- Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
- San Francisco 49ers (7-6)
Bye: Eagles, Cardinals | Wild-card round: Lions vs. Cowboys, Falcons vs. Packers
Quite simply, a Packers loss combined with a Lions win would vault Detroit back into first place in the NFC North for the time being. With the way the other results are designated, the Lions wouldn't go higher than the third seed for now, but they would be in pretty good position to jump a team like Arizona, which still has three divisional games left in the tough NFC West.
Perhaps more importantly, the Lions would move a game ahead of the Cowboys and Seahawks and two games ahead of the 49ers in this scenario. That would obviously be great news when it comes to the wild-card race and simply making the playoffs, as the Lions would suddenly have a bit of a cushion going into the final three weeks of the season.