The #Detroit Lions and the #Green Bay Packers can both breathe a little easier heading into their Sunday-night NFL football game in Week 17 (8:30pm ET start). The division still hangs in the balance in the NFC North, however neither team is facing the prospect of missing the post-season any longer. That's because the #Washington Redskins lost to the New York Giants 19-10 on Sunday afternoon and with it, Washington fell to 8-7-1. The result of that game means that the loser between Detroit and Green Bay falls to 9-7, but still clinches a Wild Card with an extra win over Washington.
Cousins interception sealed Washington's fate
The game between Washington and New York hung in the balance inside of the two-minute warning. Washington, who were losing 10-0 to start the second half, battled back to tie it before falling behind 13-10. With the ball and a strong drive pushing them into New York territory, Kirk Cousins made the fatal mistake in Washington's season as he threw an ill-advised pass that ended up being intercepted. That effectively ended any reasonable hope that Washington had of winning, something they needed to do to get into the post-season.
NFC North still to be decided
The game between Green Bay and Detroit still matters on Sunday night for other purposes. The winner will emerge as the NFC North champion. That will be good for the four seed next week in Wild Card Weekend, meaning that the winner hosts the New York Giants. The loser will be the 6th seed in the NFC playoffs and they will have to travel to face the Seattle Seahawks, a team that finished the year 10-5-1 after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17.
Any way you slice it, both Detroit and Green Bay will have a challenging game next weekend. However, it's home-field advantage that is on the line now in the game that will decide the NFC North. Furthermore, there is a difference between a four seed and six seed in the conference playoffs when it comes to potential home-field advantage later. It's at least possible for a four seed to host the conference championship while the six seed cannot do so under any circumstance. The complete playoff picture will be known before the end of the day as the GB/Detroit game is the final one of the NFL's regular season.