By: Will Burchfield

The Lions appear headed for the playoffs, and maybe even a division title and first-round bye. But here’s another thought: Detroit could earnestly challenge Dallas for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

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What seemed like a pipe dream a few weeks ago – and still a longshot before Sunday’s action – is now a distinct possibility. Indeed, if one more weekend falls in the Lions’ favor, they will have the inside track to the NFC’s top seed.

By beating the Bears yesterday, the Lions (9-4) jumped ahead of the Seahawks (8-4-1), who lost to the Packers, and pulled within two games of Dallas (11-2), who lost to the Giants. If the Lions beat the Giants next weekend and the Cowboys lose to the red-hot Buccaneers, Detroit will be in full control of its destiny in the NFC – with a Monday night trip to Dallas looming in Week 16.

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Beat the Cowboys in “JerryWorld,” and the Lions would lock up the NFC with a win at home over the Packers in Week 17, regardless of how the Cowboys fare on the same day.

That’s right. The Lions are a win and a Dallas loss away from sliding into the driver’s seat in the NFC.  The same Lions who were almost unanimously projected to finish below .500 and who lost three of their first four games.

Go figure.

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And by the way: the Lions now have the fifth best chance of winning the Super Bowl, according to