For those of you who have already made plans to travel to Minnesota on Sunday night next week to watch the Green Bay Packers, here’s some good news: The league is not going to flex the Packers vs. Vikings matchup. According to Miami Herald reporter Barry Jackson, the NFL will actually not be making any changes to the Week 17 schedule.
The two biggest threats that could have pushed Packers vs. Vikings off of Sunday Night Football, as Jackson noted, were matchups between the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals. All three games will remain in their originally scheduled time slots, which means the Packers will have at least one more primetime game this regular season.
The Vikings game is a virtual must-win for Green Bay. Based on the playoff projections, the Packers have at least around a 50-50 chance of making the playoffs if they’re able to beat Minnesota in Week 17 and add one other win during the 2023 campaign. If the Packers beat both the Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears, though, but lose to the Vikings, there’s only about an 11 percent chance that Green Bay will advance to the postseason.
The reason for this is because Minnesota already has one win over the Packers and they’re one game ahead of Green Bay in the NFC standings. With the Vikings currently holding a playoff spot, the Packers can’t afford to allow Minnesota to have the head-to-head tie-breaker over them as they fall behind another game.
Seven teams in the NFC currently have a 7-7 or 6-8 record going into Week 16’s action. With that in mind, you can make the case that Packers vs. Vikings is one of the more important games remaining on the NFL schedule, because of how many teams it can potentially impact in a very tight wildcard race in the NFC.
It shouldn’t be a shock that the game was not moved off of its timeslot, but it wasn’t a lock — considering the other options — either. There still has not been any word on when the Packers will play the Bears in Week 18, as the importance of that game will depend on the results of Green Bay’s next two games. The more games the Packers win over the next two weeks, the better the odds are that their matchup against Chicago will be an island game.