The Upcoming Vikings/Packers Game Has Massive Playoff Implications

Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) in the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings/Packers game is going to have fans on the edge of their seats.

Forced to guess, I’d say most NFL fans would have expected a different outcome for the 2022 season. A random poll of football fans before the regular season likely would have resulted in a hearty majority assuming it’d be the Packers trying to hold onto the #2 seed while the Vikings made the charge for the #7 spot. Instead, the upcoming game features the opposite scenario.

In Week 16, both NFC North teams found a way to add another win onto the season total. Green Bay, impressively, marched into Miami and walked away with a win. They intercepted Tua 3 times. Meanwhile, Minnesota defended the Bank, picking up their 12th win after another game-winning drive from Kirk Cousins and a huge 61-yarder from Greg Joseph:

A late-season divisional tilt will almost always be reason to get excited, but this is a game that carries some extra weight. Indeed, both sides will be desperate to walk away with the victory.

The NFC Playoffs and The Vikings/Packers Game

Aaron Rodgers is a sensational player. Many Minnesota fans won’t like to acknowledge that reality, but it’s still reality. The man is one of the most talented QBs to ever play. When he’s on, Rodgers can be borderline unstoppable.

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Nov 27, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) passes the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In 2022, Rodgers has had a more modest season. His Packers sit at 7-8 and his offense is 18th in the NFL with an average of 20.9 points per game. He has a 64.8 completion percentage alongside 3331 yards, 24 TDs, and 11 INTs. By his standards, the numbers are pretty humdrum.

More recently, Green Bay has played well. They are on a 3-game winning streak. The challenge for them will rest in overcoming two divisional opponents – the Vikings and Lions – in two consecutive weeks to keep their candle of hope burning. Both Minnesota and Detroit will be playing hard. Dan Campbell’s team is similarly making a push for the final playoff spot.

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Dec 4, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) celebrates a sack with linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez (44) against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second half at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings/Packers game features some huge playoff implications for both sides. The Vikings are heading to the final tournament; that’s a guarantee. The incentive for continuing to win is to hold onto the #2 spot and, in a perfect world, push for the top spot. San Francisco is playing tremendously, making them a threat to take over the second spot in the conference.

Green Bay is merely looking to sneak into the postseason. As of Monday morning, FiveThirtyEight gave the Packers a 27% chance of making the playoffs. Winning in Week 17 would push the Packers to a 56% chance of making the playoffs. Losing drops their chances to a paltry 2%.

Overcoming the Giants on Christmas Eve was crucial for continuing the pursuit of the silver medal in the NFC. Nevertheless, plenty of the work remains for the Vikings. The march toward the Super Bowl will be significantly more challenging if it involves needing to go on the road several times.

For this reason, Kevin O’Connell will likely be pushing his squad to come away with the victory in Week 17. Nearly ending Green Bay’s chance of making the postseason is simply an added bonus.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference helped with this piece.

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