Sunday Night Football is ending the year with this NFC North Championship Game. The Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers are both 10-5 and have clinched a playoff spot. Tonight will determine who is going to take the division title, while the other team enters the postseason on the road as a Wild Card.
Mike Zimmer has done an outstanding job with this Vikings team, and he's found an effective balance on offense between Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson. Will that be enough to defeat Aaron Rodgers and the Packers?
This is the third consecutive year that the Packers have played for the NFC North championship.
Several years ago, the NFL decided to make all of the Week 17 games matchups between division rivals. The thought was that this would help ensure that more of the games in the final week would be meaningful. From the Packers' perspective, the change has certainly been a smart one for the League.
On Sunday night (the game was flexed from noon to 7:30 p.m. - flexing has been another move made by the League, to ensure that the best games are nationally televised), the Packers will host the Minnesota Vikings with the NFC North title on the line. This will be the third straight year we've played for the NFC North championship in a Week 17 game (and the second straight year hosting the game). Interestingly, each game has been against a different division rival. Although both the Packers and Vikings have already clinched playoff spots, there is still much at stake. The winner will host a wild-card game next weekend, while the loser will have to go on the road. Home games are important to all playoff teams, but are especially important to the Packers. We have a great homefield advantage at Lambeau Field, and home playoff games are also important because of the economic impact they have on the local community. As a community-owned team, this is a great way for us to benefit the local economy. Also, since we are by far the smallest market in the NFL, the relative impact of an extra home game is much more significant. We estimate the economic impact of each home game is $14-$15 million.
The atmosphere at Lambeau Field on Sunday night should be electric. We're playing a Vikings team that is well coached by Mike Zimmer, and playing very well now. They had an impressive win over the Giants on Sunday night. Although we are coming off a very disappointing loss at Arizona, I'm confident that our team will bounce back and play well on Sunday night. It should be exciting - exactly what the League envisioned when they made the scheduling change.
That's your preview for tonight's game. The usual rules apply, and the comments section is open.
Jaguars vs Texans coverage