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Cheese Curds, 12/12: Packers get some much-needed help from Eagles, Panthers

Carolina’s upset win over Seattle was the result that gave the biggest boost to the Packers’ playoff hopes in Week 14.

Carolina Panthers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images

While sitting idle in week 14, the Green Bay Packers got some help in their playoff hopes in a few of the games around the NFC. If you read our rooting guide or our playoff scenario articles heading into Sunday, you know that the three teams the Packers most need to lose games down the stretch are the New York Giants, the Washington Commanders, and the Seattle Seahawks.

Among those three, two played on Sunday and both lost, helping boost the Packers’ playoff odds by a couple of percentage points, according to 538. The Giants were blown out by the Philadelphia Eagles — a fairly expected result — but the bigger shock came in the late time slot, as the Seahawks lost an upset to the Panthers at home.

Carolina ripped off 223 rushing yards in Seattle, jumping out to a 17-0 lead before scoring ten points in the fourth quarter to hold off Seattle’s comeback attempt. Although the 49ers drubbed the Buccaneers at the same time, Green Bay’s hopes of seeing some of the other Wild Card contenders crashing and burning down the stretch got some significant boosts this weekend.

For better or worse, Green Bay will also get to see results in big head-to-head games in the NFC West and East divisions before they play the Rams on Monday night in week 15. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on rooting guides as long as Green Bay is winning games, so stay tuned for that to come later this week once again.

NFL Week 14 takeaways - Lessons, big questions for every game | ESPN
From the Eagles' win over the Giants to Carolina's upset of Seattle to the Lions taking down the Vikings, this look at Week 14 Sunday is a great recap of how those games impact the affected teams.

Eagles expose Giants' faults, Cowboys reignite question as NFC East race enters final stretch |
Philadelphia clinched a playoff berth with their 48-22 drubbing of the Giants, but that result significantly helped teams like the Packers and Lions that are chasing New York for one of the final NFC playoff spots.

Keisean Nixon’s ‘dog mentality’ has earned Packers’ returner freedom to attack |
Nixon has jump-started the Packers’ return game, particularly on kickoffs where he suddenly leads the league with seven returns of 30 or more yards.

Former Packers WR Amari Rodgers catches first TD pass in second game with Texans | Packers Wire
Meanwhile, the Packers' former returner had his first big game as a receiver this weekend, hauling in his first score. Before anyone gets antsy about the Packers cutting him, however, remember that Rodgers is still only playing significant snaps because of absences by Houston starters Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins.

Fusion energy breakthrough by US scientists boosts clean power hopes | Financial Times
No funny link today -- this is a potentially world-altering discovery. It surely will still take decades before the technology to harness fusion on a large scale is ready, but this proof of concept shows a pathway to extracting net positive energy out of the process and is a monumental moment in research into nuclear power.