Who will Lions play and when? The possibilities are here

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Jim Caldwell speaks with an official during Sunday's win over the Bears.

The Lions are in the playoffs, but as they prepare for Week 17, their postseason opponent and seed remains completely up in the air.

At 11-4, the Lions are currently the No. 2 seed in the NFC, but they could be any seed except No. 4, which is guaranteed to the sub-.500 NFC South champion, or No. 5, which will go to the runner-up in the NFC West or the Packers.

Next Sunday, the Lions play at Green Bay (11-4), and the victor will win the NFC North, earn a first-round bye and a top-two seed.

The current top-seeded Seattle Seahawks (11-4) hold a tiebreaker over the Lions and Packers, so a win next week at home against the St. Louis Rams would clinch the No. 1 seed.

If the Seahawks lose, the Lions, Packers or Arizona Cardinals (11-4) would be the No. 1 seed. The Cardinals play at the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday, and if they win the NFC West, they would hold a tiebreaker against the Lions but lose one to the Packers.

Both the Lions and Packers hold the tiebreaker over the NFC East-winning Dallas Cowboys (11-4).

Here are the Lions' possible seeding scenarios:

No. 1 seed: To earn the top seed, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the postseason, the Lions need a win and losses by the Seahawks and Cardinals.

No. 2 seed: If the Lions beat the Packers and either the Seahawks or Cardinals win, Detroit will be the second seed, have a bye and host their first playoff game since 1993.

No. 3 seed: A tie between the Lions and Packers would clinch the NFC North for Detroit, but create an opportunity for the Cowboys to leap into the top two. A tie, a Cowboys win and a win by either the Seahawks or Cardinals would give the Lions a No. 3 seed and a home game in the wild-card round.

No. 6 seed: If the Lions lose to the Packers, they'll be locked in as the No. 6 seed because they would lose a tiebreaker to the NFC West runner-up. In this scenario, they'd travel to Dallas unless both NFC West teams lose, in which case they'd go to Seattle.

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/jkatzenstein