The Green Bay Packers (8-8) can clinch a playoff spot as the No. 7 seed in the NFC by beating the Detroit Lions (8-8) in the season finale on Sunday night from Lambeau Field.
The Lions, who were once 1-6, beat the Packers in Week 9 at Ford Field. Matt LaFleur’s team has won four-straight games to go from 4-8 to 8-8.
Here’s how the staff at Packers Wire believes the Week 18 showdown against the Lions will go down:
Zach Kruse (8-8): Packers 30, Lions 27
There is certainly a temptation to take the Packers – who are suddenly red-hot – to win this game convincingly, but Dan Campbell’s Lions aren’t the “Same Ol’ Lions.” This is a tough, physical and well-coached Lions team that can run the ball, generate big plays and win the turnover battle. They will give the Packers all they can handle and maybe more, but who is betting against Aaron Rodgers in this moment and on this stage? The Packers have found a true winning formula, and the Lions are a much different team away from Ford Field. If the Packers generate turnovers against Jared Goff outdoors, this one could get out of hand. If not, a classic in this NFC North rivalry is possible.
Brandon Carwile (8-8): Packers 27, Lions 17
The schedule makers did Green Bay a favor by giving them the Sunday Night Game. It’s win and you’re in for the playoffs, but Detroit may have nothing to play for if Seattle wins earlier in the day. That’s a clear competitive advantage for the Packers if the Lions already feel defeated before kickoff. Then again, this isn’t the same Detroit team we are used. Dan Campbell has lit a fire under this team, and I have no doubt they will be motivated to beat Green Bay twice in the same season, especially if it keeps a division rival out of the postseason. However, Aaron Rodgers is not going to throw three interceptions like he did in week 9. The Packers offense has been efficient over the last four weeks while the defense has forced 12 turnovers. Jared Goff has taken care of the ball of late, with his last interception going to Jaire Alexander. I think Goff will throw a crucial pick in this one and Green Bay’s offense will score more than nine points to punch their playoff ticket.
Paul Bretl (8-8): Packers 31, Lions 24
A balanced attack on offense has been key for the Packers but last time these teams met, the Lions were able to bottle up the run game by playing aggressively. They may not have that luxury this time, however, with Christian Watson’s big play ability on the outside having to be accounted for this time. It didn’t look like it in Week 9, but the Lions have statistically one of the worst defenses in football. The Packers defense will face a stout Lions offensive line and an offense that can put up points. Slowing Amon-Ra St. Brown will be key but becomes a bigger challenge with deep threats DJ Chark and Jameson Williams playing after both missed the previous matchups. Green Bay did a terrific job at limiting the Vikings passing game, but they’re going against a much more balanced offense on Sunday. At the end of the day, the Packers are playing their best in all three phases, at home and have a chance to make the playoffs. I’ll take them to win.
Brennen Rupp (8-8): Packers 31, Lions 17
The last time these two teams faced each other Aaron Rodgers threw three interceptions at Ford Field on Nov. 6. All three of those interceptions occurred inside Detroit’s 25-yard line, with two of them happening inside the five-yard line. The Packers lost that game by six points. They also lost Rashan Gary and Romeo Doubs during that game. The Packers are not the same team that lost that game, and since that win, the Lions are 6-2. This game will be a battle, but I expect the Packers to force a fourth quarter turnover that will prove to be the dagger. Restore the Roar will have to wait one more season. Packers go from 4-8 to the playoffs.