Every way the Detroit Lions can get into the playoffs

THERE’S A CHANCE: Depending how Sunday unfolds, the Lions could be the No. 2 seed in the NFC - or out altogether (Detroit Free Press photo/TNS)

THERE’S A CHANCE: Depending how Sunday unfolds, the Lions could be the No. 2 seed in the NFC – or out altogether (Detroit Free Press photo/TNS)

By Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press (TNS)

DETROIT — By now you know Sunday’s Detroit Lions-Green Bay Packers game will decide the NFC North championship. If the Lions win, they’ll claim their first division title in 23 years. If they lose, well, there’s a whole host of ways they can make and miss the playoffs.

The Lions are still in play for the Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 6 seeds in the NFC.

Here’s how they can claim each of those this week:

No. 1 seed: The Cowboys have the best record in the NFC locked up and will be the No. 1 seed in the playoffs no matter what happens this weekend.

No. 2 seed: The Lions can earn a first-round bye if they beat the Packers to win the division and the Atlanta Falcons lose at home to the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks lose or tie against the San Francisco 49ers. The Falcons will be the No. 2 seed with a win.

No. 3 seed: The NFC North champ is most likely ticketed for the four seed with a 10-6 record, but they could move up to No. 3 if one of the Falcons or Seahawks lose. The Lions would have the tie-break edge over the Falcons based on record among common opponents.

No. 4 seed: If the Lions beat the Packers and both the Seahawks and Falcons win, they’ll be the No. 4 seed and host a playoff game Jan. 7 or 8 at Ford Field.

No. 5 seed: Because they lost to the New York Giants earlier this month, the Lions cannot be the five seed. The Giants already have a wildcard berth locked up with a 10-5 record.

No. 6 seed: If the Lions lose to the Packers, the only way they can make the playoffs is if Washington loses or ties at home against the Giants. If the Lions and Packers tie, they would earn a wildcard spot ahead of Washington based on the head-to-head tiebreaker. In both cases, the Lions would be the six seed.

Miss the playoffs: If the Packers beat the Lions on Sunday and Washington beats the Giants, the Lions will miss the playoffs for the second straight year.

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