Lions' playoff forecast: Bright with chance of clinching

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Lions coach Jim Caldwell doesn't want to talk about the playoffs, but that doesn't mean we can't.

As Week 16 approaches, the Lions (10-4) are just one win away from clinching a postseason berth.

The NFL on Tuesday released its updated playoff scenarios for this week. Here are the possibilities:

Detroit clinches NFC North with a win and a Green Bay loss. The Lions play in Chicago, and the Packers (10-4) play in Tampa Bay.

* Detroit clinches a first-round bye with a win, Green Bay loss and Dallas loss. The Cowboys (10-4) host the Colts.

* Detroit clinches a playoff spot with a win, a Philadelphia loss or a tie by both teams. The Eagles (9-5) play in Washington on Saturday.

Thanks to a better conference record, the Lions or Packers currently hold the tiebreaker over either NFC East team, the Eagles and Cowboys, for a first-round bye. Both NFC North teams, though, would lose the tiebreaker to either NFC West team, the Cardinals (11-3) and Seahawks (10-4).

And even though the Lions are technically ahead of the Packers right now, the NFC North will be on the line in Week 17 unless Green Bay loses Sunday. Even if the Lions lose to the Bears, a win in Green Bay would give the Lions a head-to-head tiebreaker for the division title.

Everything will play itself out in these final two weeks, but a win over the Bears would give the Lions their first playoff berth since 2011.