After the Green Bay Packers lost to the Philadelphia Eagles, they knew they must win their remaining five games and get a lot of help to make the playoffs.
Well, they have won four out of four and got a lot of help.
Entering Week 18, the Packers control their own destiny. Beat the Detroit Lions, and they will secure the NFC’s seventh seed.
Defeat for the Washington Commanders paired with the Packers’ 41-17 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 17 means that Green Bay now controls its playoff hopes.
After Green Bay defeated the Chicago Bears, FiveThirtyEight gave Matt LaFleur’s team a 4% chance of making the playoffs. That number is now at 61% with a game to go.
It won’t be easy. The Detroit Lions have won seven of their last nine games, an impressive run that started with a 15-9 win over the Packers at Ford Field.
What helps is that this game will take place at Lambeau Field. As we saw on Sunday against the Vikings, it makes a huge difference.
Sunday’s win felt like a playoff game. The atmosphere was electric and the Packers were playing with a sense of urgency. It effectively was a playoff game, which has been true for each game over the past five weeks.
Any loss along the way and Green Bay would be out of contention. But with its statement victory over Minnesota, it is now in the driver’s seat for the NFC’s final wild-card berth.
The Vikings’ loss opened the door for the San Francisco 49ers to take the second seed. It now means that, should Green Bay qualify, it could travel to San Francisco in the wild-card round. Uh oh.
But that’s a conversation for another day. First, the Packers must win. But their playoff hopes improved in a huge way on Sunday.