How the Packers and Lions Can BOTH Still Make the PlayoffsDecember 31, 2016
Even though the end of Week 16 brought us a very nearly complete playoff picture for the AFC, there are a few spots left in the NFC that are still up for grabs. The title for the NFC North division will be determined after the Sunday night game this week when the Packers play the Lions. The last spot open is the 6-seed wild card team, which currently belongs to the Lions with the Redskins and Buccaneers tight on their heels. Firstly, we’ll talk about the Buccaneers and the miniscule chance they have to make the playoffs. Firstly, the Bucs need to beat the Panthers. Secondly, they need a tie between the Redskins and the Giants, as they would lose a tiebreaker scenario against them due to record. Thirdly, the Packers need to lose to the Lions, which then gives them a strength of schedule tiebreaker, which makes things even more complicated. Four more games on top of the three already mentioned need to go their way. These games and their results include: DAL win @ PHI, SF win vs. SEA, TEN win vs. HOU, and finally an IND win vs. JAX. The Buccaneers need seven separate games to go their way in Week 17, so their chances do not look very good. Washington on the other hand, have much better chances, as they are really only affected by two games. If the Redskins win their game against the Giants earlier in the day, then all they need is for someone to lose the night game between the Packers and Lions at Ford Field. By just looking at this, it seems like if the Redskins win their game then they are automatically in the playoffs. However, this can all go awry with one particular, possibly controversial result in the night game: a tie. If the Packers and Lions tie, then Washington is eliminated from the playoffs. While a tie isn’t exactly likely to happen, it is certainly possible, which could lead some to suspect that the Packers and Lions could tie each other on purpose. It would benefit both teams quite a bit, as neither would be eliminated from the playoffs, hence being the safest result for both teams. This result would award Green Bay with the division title (and home-field advantage for the wild card game) and reward the Lions with the remaining wild card spot. Collusion in sports is something that deserves its own article (especially in the NHL with their overtime points rules), but it is not something to be taken lightly.
It would be very possible for Green Bay and Detroit to make a plan to tie, but due to the rivalry and animosity between these two franchises I don’t see it happening. We should see a good game between the two teams on Sunday, and depending on results earlier in the day, only one team might come out with a playoff berth. However, if a tie does occur when the Redskins were in a great position to take the final playoff spot, remember that collusion in the sports world exists and that there should be some way to monitor it.
Written by Rick Wronski