Five Packers to watch vs. Lions with chance to earn first-round bye
By Jesse Fry
The Green Bay Packers are division winners yet still have playoff seeding at stake in Week 17. Which players will help push this team to earn that first-round bye?
There’s only one week left in the regular season. The Packers have a playoff berth, a division crown and the best rookie season by a Packers head coach in team history wrapped up. But they’re not done.
With a win against the Detroit Lions Sunday, the Packers will sweep the division and most importantly, guarantee a first-round bye. A win and they are locked into no worse than the second seen in the NFC. Get the win and then a Seahawks win at home versus the 49ers and the Packers are the number one seed.
The Packers will have to play a game of balance on Sunday. I’m not just talking about the run to pass ratio, I’m talking about playing the game to win while also trying to preserve some players for a Super Bowl run.
Getting off to a fast start and a big lead early would be the most ideal situation. With a weakened and injured Lions team, that would seem like a possibility. But this is a division rival, Matt Patricia has this team playing hard over the last month-plus despite playing without its number one quarterback and key players all over the roster.
The Packers can’t think they are going to just walk into Ford Field and the Lions play down for them. There are players still fighting for jobs next year and playing for pride. Disrupting the Packers’ momentum and preventing them from a first-round bye would make a big statement for this team. They cannot look past the Lions. They must come into the game focused and ready for a fight.
These five players will need to land the biggest punches to ensure the Packers get a first-round bye.