Every week during the regular season Tim Twentyman will answer 10 good questions from his Twitter account @ttwentyman in a feature we call "10 Questions with Twentyman."
20man: It depends on how high you've set the playoff bar.
If Seattle beats Green Bay on Sunday, and the Lions take care of business at home vs. Chicago, the Lions' "magic number" for eliminating the Packers from the division race is just one game. That means if Detroit beats New York or Dallas, or Green Bay loses to Chicago or Minnesota in Weeks 15 or 16, the Packers are eliminated from the division race even before their Week 17 matchup in Detroit.
If Green Bay beats Seattle, and the Lions beat Chicago, the Packers keep pace with Detroit in the division, but the Lions move into the No. 2 overall seed ahead of Seattle. That comes with a bye in the first round of the playoffs, and then a home game to play for a berth in the NFC Championship game.
I've always been of the mindset that I plan to handle my own business and control what I can control. Why would I root for teams below me to lose? I would rather have a team above me in the standings fall back to me, or in this case, below me. But that's just me.
20man: That's the million-dollar question, isn't it?
He's certainly been trending that way. He went from doubtful to questionable on the injury report the last couple weeks.
He was noticeably more involved in the open portion of practice on Wednesday, but it's unclear what that really means.
I've always thought he would return at some point this season, but I'm done making predictions on it. We'll see what the game designation says on Friday, and what the inactive report brings at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. I'd be lying if I told you I knew either way.
20man: This doesn't affect Ameer Abdullah. The hope should be that Abdullah is still able to return off IR at some point this season. I never thought it would be this week vs. Chicago, so with Theo Riddick dealing with a wrist injury and Dwayne Washington nursing an ankle injurie, the Lions' numbers are down, and they needed a running back.
Riddick sat out Wednesday's practice. Washington took part in a limited fashion. We'll have to see how both players respond to treatment this week and if they're ready to go by Sunday.
I thought Zach Zenner came in last week and played very well down the stretch. He helped the Lions ice that game by averaging 4.4 yards per carry with a few nice runs in the fourth quarter.
I'd expect the rotation to be Riddick, Washington, Zenner if all are able to play. Bell seems like a security blanket if Riddick or Washington can't go.
20man: Ebron caught four passes for 38 yards in New Orleans. That came on the heels of being shutout in the catch department the week prior vs. Minnesota.
If you've watched this team at all this year, you know that this is how they operate on offense. They spread the ball out. On any given Sunday it can either be Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr., Anquan Boldin, Ebron or Riddick with a big performance in the passing game.
Sometimes the impact a player makes on the game doesn't always show up in the stat book, either. A perfect example from Sunday in New Orleans: Tate's 66-yard touchdown was set up, in part, by Saints safety Von Bell being so concerned with Ebron and his route against a linebacker inside, that he wasn't able to get outside to help over the top on Tate.
Even when he's not catching the football, Ebron's athleticism and big-play ability affect the game.
20man: I'm not sure if it's that under the radar given how much I've wrote about them recently, but the safety position has really stepped up and made a huge impact this season.
We all know how good Glover Quin is, but Tavon Wilson and Rafael Bush have been under-the-radar signings by GM Bob Quinn that have really worked out well. Both Wilson and Bush have two interceptions over Detroit's 7-1 stretch, and they've been huge picks at that.
Even rookie Miles Killebrew has stepped up and made plays in some of Detroit's sub packages. Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has utilized those extra-safety packages to real effectiveness this season.
20man: Looking past this week already, John? Jim Caldwell would be disappointed.
But that's certainly a big loss for them. He's recorded 53 tackles, seven sacks and three forced fumbles in 12 games this season. He's also defended eight passes, which is impressive from that position.
He's big, fast and experienced. The Giants will certainly miss him the rest of the way. The Lions, obviously, won't miss him next week when they play the Giants in New York.
20man: Because he's been one of the best in the business at his position with whatever the Lions have asked him to do.
He's had 70- and 80-catch seasons early in his career. When his role changed to being more of a blocking tight end, he was one of the best at the position doing that.
He's versatile in that sense.
He's also terrific in the locker room and the meeting room. Ask Ebron what having Pettigrew around has meant for the way he prepares and has developed over the last couple seasons.
20man: The Lions lost starting nickel cornerback Quandre Diggs for the season with a pectoral injury, so things will look a little bit different the rest of the way.
Rookie Adairius Barnes filled in for Diggs in the slot at points last week. The team obviously likes his potential. Needing to open roster spots last week for TJ Jones and Armonty Bryant, Detroit waived veteran cornerback Johnthan Banks instead of Barnes.
The Lions signed veteran Asa Jackson of Baltimore's practice squad on Tuesday. They'll see what he brings to the table this week and how quickly he can pick up the scheme. Maybe they work him inside.
Teryl Austin has also utilized that three-safety look a bunch this season, and could opt to feature it more moving forward with Diggs out.
The Lions have options, which a good thing.
20man: Both Caldwell and Austin are familiar with Jackson from their time in Baltimore.
"He's got quickness, he's got toughness," Caldwell said of Jackson on Wednesday. "He's a highly competitive guy, so we'll put him through his paces and see how he does."
This is essentially a rookie season for Alex Carter after missing all of his first season due to injury. He's simply not ready yet. He needs another offseason and training camp to get to a point where he's ready to even compete for the opportunity to step in on Sunday and perform.
20man: They gave you a little reprieve last week, Matt.
In the future, when these games get close, which they no-doubt will, a tall adult beverage typically helps.