The Green Bay Packers will host the Detroit Lions on Sunday Night Football in Week 18, and the schedule could play into the Packers’ hands.
Green Bay, Detroit, and the Seattle Seahawks are in contention for the NFC’s seventh seed entering the final week of the regular season.
The Packers have the simplest path to the playoffs, knowing a win over the Lions clinches the seventh seed.
Seattle must beat the Los Angeles Rams with Green Bay losing to Detroit. The Lions must beat the Packers paired with a Seahawks loss.
NFL Week 18 schedule could give Packers advantage
Both the Packers/Lions and Seahawks/Rams games are crucial in the wild-card race.
For fairness, they should be played at the same time. However, the NFL couldn’t resist placing a Packers win-and-in game in a primetime slot.
If Seattle loses to Los Angeles, the winner of the Green Bay/Detroit game will make the postseason.
However, Seahawks fans probably aren’t too pleased with the schedule.
They need to win and the Lions win. But if the Seahawks beat the Rams, it will eliminate the Lions. Detroit then has no way of making the playoffs, even with a victory at Lambeau Field.
Had the games been played simultaneously, it wouldn’t have been an issue.
The Lions would go to Green Bay knowing a win could clinch a playoff berth. They wouldn’t have time to worry about the Seahawks/Rams game.
But if the Seahawks win, the Lions effectively have nothing to play for. That’s unfair on Seattle and potentially an advantage for Green Bay.
Seattle needs Detroit to win, but if the Seahawks win their game, they give the Lions less motivation.
Of course, the Lions wouldn’t have nothing to play for.
A victory would give them a winning record. They fight hard in every game under Dan Campbell, and there’s no doubt they’d love to play spoiler by eliminating the Packers from contention.
Sure, they would be motivated. But there’s a difference between playing for a wild-card berth and just trying to stop your rivals from getting in.
Sunday night’s matchup will be tough for the Packers, regardless.
But the Seahawks/Rams game could play a factor.
If Seattle loses, Detroit could be even more fired up, knowing a win would be enough to clinch a playoff berth. But it sure would be deflating for the Lions if their playoff dreams are crushed just hours before kickoff.
And that could be a significant advantage for Green Bay.