NFC North Round-Up: It All Comes Down to Week 18

NFC North Injury Updates
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 Week 17, the NFC North saw each team playing against division rivals this week, and each of the games ended in blowouts for the home teams. Now, Week 18 sets up a potential “win and you’re in” situation for each of Detroit and Green Bay. In this week’s NFC North Round-Up, we examine the implications of this past weekend heading into the final week of the regular season.

The Bears Defense Was No Match for the Lions Offense

NFC North Round-Up: It All Comes Down to Week 18
Jan 1, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions running back D’Andre Swift (32) runs to the end zone for a touchdown after catching a screen pass from quarterback Jared Goff (not pictured) against the Chicago Bears in the third quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions made their road to the playoffs much harder by getting blown out by the Carolina Panthers. If they would have simply won that game, they wouldn’t be in a predicament of needing to win out and getting some help from the Seahawks.

They completed step one of that process in Week 17, though. They beat the brakes off the Chicago Bears on Sunday to the tune of a 41-10 final score. Detroit piled up over 500 yards of offense against Chicago, and every single one of their key players showed up in the win.

Jared Goff threw for 3 TDs, Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift each scored rushing touchdowns and combined for over 200 yards, and Amon-Ra St. Brown led the way in receiving.

Meanwhile, the Bears found absolutely no production outside of Justin Fields running the ball. Fields had 132 rushing yards, but he completed just 7-of-21 passes for only 75 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.

Green Bay Stomps Minnesota

Green Bay Packers safety Adrian Amos (31) celebrates a second quarter interception against the Minnesota Vikings during their football game on Sunday, January, 1, 2023 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Apc Packers Vs Vikings 1562 010123 Wag

After multiple weeks of calling the Minnesota Vikings fraudulent, the best case for that being true may have been made on Sunday at Lambeau Field. The Vikings blocked a punt on the Packers opening drive, but after that, nothing went right for Minnesota. They were forced to settle for a field goal on that drive, and the Packers proceeded to go on a 41-0 run.

The only thing that saved the Vikings from an even worse blowout than the Bears suffered was a pair of garbage time touchdowns. However, there was a cool moment with Jalen Nailor getting his first NFL touchdown reception in the 4th quarter.

This is now the third time this season where the Vikings had a “burn the tape” game where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. One or two of those games in a season is probably fine, but three starts to become a trend.

The Final NFC Playoff Spot Could Be Decided with Lions/Packers

A Look at the Packers & Vikings in Week 17
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) gestures to fans as he leaves the field after a game against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, December 19, 2022, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won the game, 24-12.Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Apj Packers Vs Rams 121922 1788 Ttm

With this weekend’s results now behind us, Week 18 is officially going to be the determining factor in who gets the seventh and final seed in the NFC. The Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers face off at Lambeau Field this Sunday and depending on what happens between the Seahawks and Rams, this could become a “win and you’re in” game for both teams.

However, the Lions could be eliminated if the Seahawks win their game since Seattle beat them earlier this season. As for the Packers, their path is set. If they win against Detroit, the No. 7 seed goes to them. It will surely be an entertaining battle if it turns into a de facto playoff game for both squads.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.