NFC Top Game Of Week 17: Vikings-Packers Winner Takes NFC North

There are no Thursday night or Monday night games in Week 17 for competitive reasons. So the only prime-time game in the NFL is a winner-take-all matchup for the NFC North Division between the Minnesota Vikings and host Green Bay Packers. Both teams will make the playoffs regardless.

HOME PLAYOFF GAME ON LINE

Green Bay and Minnesota are both 10-5. A tie would give the Packers the division. They have won the North the past four years and were heavy preseason favorites this summer again. Minnesota hasn’t won the division since 2009. The Packers are 3-point favorites with a total of 46.

The winner of this game will be the third seed in the NFC and thus play the No. 6 seed. That No. 6 team will either be the loser of this game or the Seattle Seahawks. So let’s assume Green Bay wins as the favorite. The current No. 6 seed is two-time reining NFC champion Seattle (9-6). If the Seahawks lose later Sunday at Arizona, then Seattle is the No. 6 seed no matter what. It would visit the NFC North winner next week. But if the Seahawks win and Vikings lose, then Minnesota will play at Green Bay again next week.

This marks the third consecutive year Green Bay will play for the NFC North title in Week 17, and it will be against the third different opponent (Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota). The Packers won the previous two, last year vs. the Lions at Lambeau Field. Dating back to 2006, Green Bay is 8-1 in Week 17 games, including 5-0 at home. The Packers’ eight wins in Week 17 are tied for the most in the NFL since 2006. Green Bay has scored 276 points in Week 17 games since that year, tied with the Patriots for the most in the NFL over that span. Sunday will be the first time ever the Packers and Vikings have met in the regular season when both teams entered the game with a double-digit win total.

Green Bay won at Minnesota 30-13 in Week 11, probably the Packers’ best game played since before their Week 7 bye. Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and Green Bay sacked Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater six times. NFL rushing leader Adrian Peterson was held to 45 yards on the ground. The Packers are 10-1-1 in the last 12 games between the teams during the regular and postseason, including 5-0-1 at home.

The Packers are 11.0000 to win the NFC title, while Minnesota is 19.0000.

PANTHERS COULD LOSE TOP SEED

The only real drama in the NFC with all the playoff spots sewn up is for the top seed. NFC South champion Carolina (14-1) will claim it with a win over visiting Tampa Bay. The Panthers are 10-point favorites there. NFC West champ Arizona (13-2) can steal the top seed with a win over Seattle and a Panthers loss. The Cardinals are 6.5-point favorites vs. the Seahawks. The Carolina game starts at 1 p.m. ET time. So Arizona will know whether it even has to care when its game kicks off at 4:25 p.m. ET.

Arizona is now the 2.4000 favorite to win the NFC title with Carolina at 3.0000.

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