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NFL playoff picture: The Detroit Lions hold the No. 2 seed in the NFC

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It’s way too early, but it’s still fun to look at the playoff picture.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

I know a lot of you are going to hate this, but it’s always fun to see where the Detroit Lions stand in the playoff race, even if we’re just a month into the season. We know it means absolutely nothing, and no, we’re not trying to jinx anything. It’s just a fun exercise to go through, and one we can use to see how far the Lions jump up and down throughout the season.

The Lions are currently one of six 3-1 teams in the NFC, and after shuffling through all the tiebreakers, Detroit is actually currently slotted in the No. 2 seed in the conference. If the season were to end today, the Lions would not only win the NFC North, but would have their first playoff bye since the 1991 season.

Why do the Lions come out near the top over the other 3-1 NFC teams? Let’s break down the tiebreakers really quickly.

Lions vs. Packers

Before determining seeding, you have to figure out all four division winners. The Lions and Packers have the same head-to-head record (0-0), the same division record (1-0) and they only have one common game: a loss to the Falcons. So the tiebreaker goes to the team with the best conference record. The Lions are 3-1 in conference play, and the Packers are just 2-1.

So the Lions are NFC North leaders, while the Packers currently hold a Wild Card spot.

NFC seeding

Here are the division winners via tiebreakers:

  • North: Lions
  • East: Eagles (via 2-0 conference record)
  • South: Panthers (have common game tiebreaker over Falcons (Bills))*
  • West: Rams

*This may seem weird considering the Panthers have a divisional loss to the Saints, but the Falcons have yet to play a divisional game, making their winning percentage in the South zero percent, tied with the Panthers. So, the tiebreaker would head to common games.

The first criteria for seeding among division winners is head-to-head record, but none of these four teams have played each other yet, so the tiebreakers come down to conference record. Here’s that breakdown:

  1. Eagles: 2-0 in conference play
  2. Lions: 3-1 in conference play
  3. Rams: 2-1 in conference play
  4. Panthers: 1-1 in conference play

So there you have it. The Lions are currently the two-seed in the NFC. If the playoffs started today, the Lions would have to wait for the winners of the Wild Card round games to know their opponent:

Packers (6) at Rams (3)
Falcons (5) at Panthers (4)

Detroit would theoretically play the highest-seeded team to come out of the Wild Card round.

It’s fun to dream.