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Cheese Curds, 12/29: Packers can’t clinch on Sunday but could be eliminated

The scenarios and rooting interests for the Packers are simple this week, largely centering around the Washington Commanders.

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Washington Commanders v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

No, the Green Bay Packers cannot clinch a playoff spot this weekend. The Packers’ upcoming showdown with the Detroit Lions in week 18 ensures that Green Bay absolutely must win that game in order to have a chance to make the postseason. However, there are a couple of scenarios that could eliminate the Packers from playoff contention this weekend and that therefore keep Sunday afternoon’s game against the Minnesota Vikings squarely in the must-win category.

A loss by the Packers combined with either a Lions win over the Chicago Bears or a Washington Commanders victory over the Cleveland Browns would officially eliminate the Packers, which would set up some interesting decisions for that week 18 matchup. Of course, the Packers are currently favored at home against Minnesota on Sunday, and a win keeps them right in the thick of the mix.

In fact, if the Packers win and the Commanders lose, that means that the Packers will control their playoff fate against Detroit. Making things even more fascinating is that there is a viable scenario in which either Packers-Lions winner makes the playoffs with the loser being eliminated, which could set up the NFL to put that game in prime time a week from Sunday. That would require both Green Bay and Detroit to win this week along with losses by both the Commanders and the Seattle Seahawks (against the New York Jets).

Strap in for a fascinating NFL Sunday on New Year’s Day, folks!

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