Detroit Lions Playoff Scenarios: What Is Detroit's Ideal Road to Super Bowl?

Jon DoveContributor IJanuary 1, 2012

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 24:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions slaps hands with teammate Ndamukong Suh #90 after a NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at Ford Field on December 24, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  The Lions won 38-10. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
Dave Reginek/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions need to win this weekend's game against the Green Bay Packers to ensure an easier path the the Super Bowl. Landing the No. 5 seed means a matchup against either the New York Giants or Dallas Cowboys. Those are more favorable matchups than facing either the San Francisco 49ers or New Orleans Saints.

Detroit is battling the Atlanta Falcons for that all-important five seed. A Lions loss and Falcons win means Detroit drops to No. 6, and Atlanta owns the tie-breaker thanks to their Week 7 head-to-head win. 

The Falcons play the Tamp Bay Buccaneers today—a game they don't figure to lose. Pressure is on the Lions to hand the Packers their second loss of the season.

Landing the No. 5 seed and earning a first-round win means Detroit would have to travel to Green Bay. The Packers are the best team in the NFC, but they are a better matchup for the Lions. Detroit's defense really struggles to shut down the opponents running game—something both the 49ers and Saints do better than Green Bay.

Playing the Packers will allow the Lions to unleash their fearsome pass rush. Cliff Avril, Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch are capable of created enough pressure to throw Aaron Rodgers off his game. Green Bay's offensive line is in shambles, giving the Lions a clear mismatch.

So, after defeating the Giants/Cowboys and Packers, Detroit would prefer to face the 49ers. The thought behind this is that Detroit has a better shot of outscoring San Francisco than shutting down Drew Brees. New Orleans' offense can beat you in a few different ways, while the 49ers will mainly focus on running the ball.

The Lions' road to an easier shot at the Super Bowl begins today against the Green Bay Packers. This game means very little for the Packers, which could result in rest for the starters. Detroit needs to take care of business.