We’re down to the final week of the 2022 NFL season and while the NFC North division title was wrapped up by the Minnesota Vikings a couple of weeks ago, two other teams are playing their best ball as they attempt to make the postseason. The Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers are each vying for a wild card spot in the postseason and smoked the Chicago Bears and Vikings, respectively, in Week 17.
Both the Lions and the Packers scored 41 points while the Bears and Vikings couldn’t break 20 while being blown out. See how the games impacted this week’s division power rankings, the penultimate of the season.
Green Bay Packers (8-8)
- Last week’s ranking: No. 2
- Week 17 result: 41-17 win vs. Minnesota Vikings
It’s shocking to have the Packers atop the power rankings, especially since they were left for dead midway through the season. But Green Bay has won four games in a row, three of which came by two scores. They just dropped 41 points on the division champs in their quest to make the playoffs and have set themselves up for a “win and they’re in” scenario in the season finale.
Whatever ailed the Packers in October and November has been rectified in December and January. All they need to do is get a win against the Lions at home to secure a spot in the postseason.
Detroit Lions (8-8)
- Last week’s ranking: No. 3
- Week 17 result: 41-10 win vs. Chicago Bears
Like the Packers, the Lions have been one of the hottest teams in the NFC over the last month and a half. Though they faltered in their Week 16 matchup at the Carolina Panthers, Detroit picked themselves up to steamroll the Bears to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Lions came after the Bears hard on defense and used a steady ground game on offense to take a big lead and not let it go.
This was the Lions’ fifth game this season scoring 35 points or more. Their offense has become one of the best in the league and they’ll look to keep it that way on Sunday night at Green Bay. If they win and the Seattle Seahawks lose to the Los Angeles Rams earlier in the day, they’re in the playoffs.
Minnesota Vikings (12-4)
- Last week’s ranking: No. 1
- Week 17 result: 41-17 loss at Green Bay Packers
When the Vikings win this year, they’re average margin of victory is 5.6 points. When they lose, their average margin of defeat is 26 points. In other words, they’re winning by the skin of their teeth, but losing in blowout fashion. That’s not a recipe for success, especially this late in the season.
Minnesota was smoked by Green Bay as Kirk Cousins threw three interceptions on the day as the Packers defense and special teams feasted. The Vikings couldn’t get any momentum going and were outplayed by a hungry Packers team, desperate to make the playoffs. With the No. 2 seed still up for grabs, Minnesota will look to defeat the Bears in the season finale to capture it.
Chicago Bears (3-13)
- Last week’s ranking: No. 4
- Week 17 result: 41-10 loss at Detroit Lions
What more can we say about the Bears that hasn’t already been said? They’re losers of nine straight, setting a dubious franchise record, and played their worst game of the season. Chicago was unprepared and unwilling to match what Detroit was giving them on both sides of the ball. Aside from a few magical runs by Justin Fields, there was nothing positive for the Bears in this game.
The only significance the season finale has for the Bears is the potential to nab the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. A win by the Houston Texans, coupled with a Bears loss to the Vikings on Sunday would give Chicago the top selection.