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GMC Playbook: Packers-Lions in Week 17 Looms Large for Playoff Positioning

The NFC's playoff seeding will likely be affected significantly by the winner of the Packers' game in week 17.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It's time for this week's GMC Playbook question with Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk. Last week, we discussed the fact that the Packers are very much contenders in the NFC playoff race, and we looked a bit at how the remaining schedule plays into that.

This week, we're looking at the schedule in even more detail. Take it away, Marshall!

With the standings set up the way they are now, there's really only one option: it's the week 17 game between the Packers and Lions.

As you know, the Packers are currently 6-3, one game behind the 7-2 Lions. Detroit owns the tiebreaker right now by virtue of their week three win at Ford Field, so the Packers need a win at Lambeau to even up the season series. Much like last season, it is entirely plausible that the NFC North will come down to a winner-take-all game on the final day of the season; the only difference here is that there is a very good chance that the loser will still get a Wild Card spot, instead of being out of the playoffs altogether.

Of course, Wild Cards have won Super Bowls in recent years. The Packers did it in 2010, and the Giants have done it twice. Still, any team would rather win their division and have at minimum one home playoff game. Plus, with the way the NFC is shaping up, there's a good chance that the NFC North winner could end up with a first-round bye as well.

Ultimately, the Packers do have some tough games coming up - the Eagles and Patriots come to Lambeau in the next few weeks, sandwiched around a game in Minnesota. But no single game is likely to have the impact on playoff positioning as that game in the cold against the Lions.

Here's hoping that the trend of the past 22 games between these teams in the state of Wisconsin continues, because if the Packers can win a 23rd straight, it should propel them to a fourth-straight NFC North title, and quite possibly a bye in the playoffs.

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