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Cheese Curds, 1/2: Packers can clinch playoff spot against Lions, but game time still TBD

It’s win-and-in for the Packers, but fans will have to wait until Monday night to find out what time they will play next weekend.

Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers Photo by Kayla Wolf/Getty Images

It’s not hyperbole to say that everything has gone right for the Green Bay Packers in the last few weeks. They got every result that they needed to allow themselves a chance to control their own playoff future with one week left in the season, getting crucial results in the other games around the league. Plus, they beat a pair of teams with winning records, downing the Miami Dolphins a week ago and the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night while forcing four turnovers in each game.

Now the only thing standing in the way of the Packers’ playoff run is the Detroit Lions. The two teams will play at Lambeau Field in week 18, finishing the season off against one another as they so often do. But both teams have a chance to make the playoffs with a win — the difference for the Lions is that they will need help in addition to getting a victory over the Packers.

Detroit can only make the playoffs with a win and either a loss or a tie by the Seattle Seahawks, who play the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Based simply on geography, that game will have to take place in the late time slot, meaning that Packers-Lions should kick off no earlier than 3:25 PM Central on Sunday.

Still, the NFL could elect to make that game the Sunday Night Football matchup instead, but there would be a bit less drama there if the Seahawks win. If the league wants to maximize the scheduling of interconnected games together, the late afternoon time slot makes more sense, and the SNF game could go to Bengals-Ravens (which would be for the AFC North title if Cincinnati loses on Monday Night Football this evening) or Eagles-Giants (which the Eagles need to win to clinch the NFC East and the top seed in the conference).

Here’s a look back at yesterday’s win over the Vikings as we wait to see when the Packers and Lions will kick off.

Keisean Nixon’s historic drive to the end zone propels Packers |
This man needs to be the All-Pro kickoff returner. He finally found the end zone, the first kickoff return score since Randall Cobb's in 2011, and the 105-yarder was the third-longest in team history.

Packers KR Keisean Nixon goes from doubtful to feeling like a Ferrari before return TD | Packers Wire
On Friday, Keisean Nixon didn't think he'd play Sunday because of his groin injury. On Sunday, he woke up feeling dangerous. And though he only played three snaps in the game, he'll likely earn Special Teams Player of the Week.

Jaire Alexander backs up talk in thwarting Vikings' Justin Jefferson |
Meanwhile, Alexander and a great scheme from the Packers helped hold the NFL's leading receiver to just a single reception for 15 yards, his fewest yards since week 3 against the Lions and the first time in his career that he has caught fewer than two passes.

Packers' push for playoffs 'feels really special' to Rodgers | ESPN
Rodgers acknowledged that he hasn't played his best football this year, but he says he's focusing on being "someone the guys can count on to keep it together."

Vikings’ Za’Darius Smith Refuses to Shake Packers’ Hands at Coin Toss - Sports Illustrated
He also refused to shake hands after the game, going straight into the locker room after the clock hit zero. It's tough to tell who was a bigger baby on Sunday after the game -- Smith or Vikings fans on social med.a

Pete Rose places Ohio's first legal sports bet | Spectrum News
Because of course he did.