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NFL playoff picture: What does Lions-Falcons mean for NFC standings

The Lions face the Falcons in Atlanta on Sunday. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

A general view of the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 31, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Result: The Falcons beat the Lions 20-16. Atlanta improves to 7-8 and remains alive in the wild card race, if just barely. They need some help, but live to fight another week with the win.

The Atlanta Falcons host the Detroit Lions in a game of teams not exactly going in opposite directions, but competing for different goals to close out the 2021-22 regular season. The Falcons are still in the playoff race while the Lions are looking to build momentum for 2022 while also sorting out a potentially top three draft pick in the 2022 NFL Draft order.

Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET on Sunday and the game will air on FOX. The Falcons are a 6.5-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Falcons playoff picture

The Falcons are 6-8 and sitting in tenth place in the overall NFC standings. They’re tied with Washington, who has the head-to-head tiebreaker advantage, and both teams are a game back of the Vikings, Eagles, and Saints. Minnesota currently holds the final wild card spot.

The Falcons close out the season at home against Detroit, on the road against Buffalo, and at home against the Saints. If they win out, they’ll move ahead of the Saints based on head-to-head tiebreaker advantage. Other than that, they’ll need help from the other teams ahead of them.

Atlanta would be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss and either a Vikings win or Eagles win or Washington win plus Eagles tie.

Relevant Week 16 matchups

Rams (10-4) @ Vikings (7-7)
Giants (4-10) @ Eagles (7-7)
Washington (6-8) @ Cowboys (10-4)
Dolphins (7-7) @ Saints (7-7)