Friday, 24 March, 2017

NFC North Title on the Line

Ron Matthews | 29 December, 2016, 08:14

Sunday night's game between the Lions and Packers is for the NFC North title and a guaranteed playoff berth.

The New York Giants are locked into the No. 5 seed in the NFC, but plan to play their starters in Sunday's season finale against Washington. The Lions and Packers will be on NBC Sunday night at 8:30pm.

The Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, and Washington Redskins will fill the final two spots in the NFC, although technically the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still have a heartbeat (barely).

To get a win however, the Burgundy and Gold (8-6-1 on the season) will have to beat their NFC East division nemesis - the New York Giants (10-5). The Lions are 6-1 at Ford Field this season while the Packers are 3-4 playing as visitors. Three years ago, they played the Bears for the title when Aaron was injury plagued, two years ago in a game I attended, they played the Lions at home with the famous "Suh stomp", and last year was a home game against the Vikings.

In the last six games - which includes the loss to Washington - Rodgers has thrown 14 touchdown passes without an interception.

If the Giants beat the Redskins, the Lions/Packers game would be a battle for the division and home field, as they would likely (depending on Seahawks/49ers game) play each other in the first round. They can also get a first round bye if the Falcons lose and the Seahawks don't win their game.

If the Packers win, Chief Smith will receive American Coney Island hot dogs from Detroit's Famous American Coney Island restaurant.

Matthew Stafford: Stafford throws for 260 yards, adds rush TD
This year, however, Stafford leads the National Football League with an incredible eight game-winning drives, tops in the NFL. Wilcox intercepted Stafford once and a Cowboys defense that has has trouble rushing the quarterback finished with four sacks.

While the Giants may decide to limit some of their starters, Washington certainly isn't going to take NY lightly.

Detroit's loss in their Week 3 visit to Green Bay was their first of four defeats against current postseason teams. However, Kansas City can also fall to sixth if they lose their game and the Dolphins win their game.

Rodgers' favorite target, wide receiver Jordy Nelson, has 38 receptions, 528 receiving yards and five touchdowns during the winning streak.

All of a sudden, Dallas had 35 points with 19 minutes left to play against a Detroit defense that hadn't allowed 20 in its past eight games.

For the Lions, a win obviously gets them in. His passer rating of 102.7 is fifth in the NFL. Clay Matthews had a sack and forced a fumble in Green Bay's win over Minnesota, and sparked a defense that will complement an offense firing on all cylinders.

Anyone wondering what Green Bay's playoff chances are coming into the final week of the 2016 National Football League season should know that the Packer's playoff chances come down to not one, but in fact, two scenarios.

"If you could find and corral that zone you'd use it every single game", Rodgers told reporters after practice on Wednesday. Montgomery averages 6.0 yards per carry and has three rushing touchdowns.

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