NFL Playoff Picture: Lions Are Still Very Much Alive

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 4: Nate Burleson #13 of the Detroit Lions stiff arms Jabari Greer #33 of the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Lions 31-17. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

For more on the Lions, visit SB Nation's Pride of Detroit.

Despite two straight losses in which the Detroit Lions gave up a number of penalties, they are still alive in the NFC playoff picture. Perhaps the only good things that happened to them on Sunday is that all their close competitors for the two NFC wild card spots lost.

The Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, and New York Giants all lost on Sunday, thus keeping the NFC wild card picture very much in flux. The Giants are a game back at 6-6, but the Lions, Bears, and Falcons each have a 7-5 record. That is not a good thing for Detroit, as the Lions would lose the current tiebreaker to both teams:

Chicago Wins tie break over Atlanta based on head-to-head win percentage. Division tie break was initially used to eliminate Detroit (Chicago wins tie break over Detroit based on best win percentage in conference games).

The Lions head-to-head loss to the Falcons gives Atlanta the edge, but injuries to Jay Cutler and now Matt Forte will severely hamper the Bears quest to stay ahead of the Lions.

Finally, it is wild card or bust for the Lions, as the Packers clinched the NFC North title last night with Detroit's loss.

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