On DraftKings, the Green Bay Packers have been named 3.5-point favorites against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 17 in a game that is expected to be one of the highest-scoring matches of the weekend. While the Packers are entering the games off of back-to-back wins, there’s been speculation that Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa played through a concussion in his three-interception second half against Green Bay on Christmas.
The Vikings have won an unsustainable amount of close games this season. Their record doesn’t match their talent on the field, but the Packers’ defense is somewhat of a paper tiger, too. At the very least, defensive coordinator Joe Barry is still on the hot seat.
Green Bay’s easiest path to the postseason is by winning their final two games of the season and watching the Washington Commanders drop at least one more game. Their next easiest path is to win out and watch the New York Giants lose out. If the Packers lose to Minnesota, their odds to make the playoffs drop all the way down to two percent, per FiveThirtyEight’s model, and Green Bay would then be eliminated if Washington managed to win against the Cleveland Browns this weekend.
To put it simply: This is a virtual must-win game for the Packers. They need just a little bit of help from elsewhere in the NFC, but they nearly control their own destiny, as long as they win out. According to FiveThirtyEight’s model, Green Bay makes the postseason 90 percent of the time, as long as they beat the Vikings and the Detroit Lions to end the 2022 regular season.
Other games worth watching for the Packers this weekend are Commanders-Browns and Eagles-Saints. If Cleveland beats Washington and the Packers beat the Vikings, it creates a win-and-in matchup with the Lions in Week 18. If the Saints manage to beat the Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys beat the heavily-injured Tennessee Titans, the Eagles and Cowboys would be playing their starters in Week 18 against the Giants and Commanders, respectively. If the Eagles win this weekend, they’ll clinch the NFC East, leaving Philadelphia and Dallas with little reason to play their starters against teams that Green Bay is rooting against to win out in the final two weeks of the season.
Packers players who were injured against the Dolphins include receiver Christian Watson, returner man and nickel corner Keisean Nixon and right tackle Yosh Nijman, all who left the game on Sunday. On Monday, head coach Matt LaFleur called those players “day to day.” The other major injury to watch for this week in Green Bay is to left tackle David Bakhtiari, who underwent an emergency appendectomy before the bye week and has yet to return to practice. Bakhtiari was listed as doubtful, rather than out, for the first time since his procedure going into the Miami game.