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Only about 3,000 tickets were still available on www.packers.com as of 5 p.m. Jan. 2, 2017. Sarah Kloepping/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

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GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers started Monday with 8,000 unsold tickets for Sunday's wild-card playoff game at Lambeau Field. By late afternoon, 3,000 remained.

"We saw sales tick up last night and again this morning, so we anticipate selling out," Packers spokesman Aaron Popkey said.

The Packers (10-6) host the New York Giants (11-5) at 3:40 p.m. Sunday  at Lambeau Field in the first round of the NFL playoffs. They qualified for a home game by defeating the Detroit Lions 31-24 Sunday at Ford Field. The victory clinched the NFC North championship for the Packers. During the regular season, Green Bay defeated the Giants 23-17 on Oct. 9 at Lambeau Field.

Single-game tickets bought directly from the Packers range from $118 to $145 for the wild-card round. They are sold online only at Ticketmaster.

Tickets also are available from re-sellers, such as NFL Ticket Exchange, the league's official secondary-market vendor, EventUSA in Ashwaubenon, SeatGeek, Vivid Seats and others. Starting prices, not including fees, ranged from $129 to $149 Monday afternoon. Fans are advised to buy tickets from reputable or known sellers and to use a credit card and never pay cash.

Related: NFL playoff scheduled, times, TV

Related: Cohen's chat: How good is the Giants defense

Playoff ticket offers were mailed to season-ticket holders and fans on the season-ticket waiting list during the Packers' abysmal four-game losing streak. Green Bay didn't qualify for a playoff spot until Washington lost to the Giants late Sunday afternoon. Both might have accounted for unsold tickets.

Tickets were made available to the general public Dec. 16, when 12,000 were unsold.

"The timing is always the same every year in terms of when invoices go out and when they're due," Popkey said. "That can influence things, as we've seen before."

The Packers averted a local TV blackout in January 2014, when a confluence of circumstances left Lambeau Field uncharacteristically vulnerable to NFL broadcast rules.

Green Bay qualified for the playoffs in the final minute of the final game in Chicago and began playoff week with 40,000 of 80,000 tickets unsold. NFL rules require games to be sold out 72 hours in advance to avoid local television blackouts. The Packers weren't the only team having trouble with ticket sales for that wild-card round, and the NFL allowed a 24-hour extension. In the end, a couple of corporate partners stepped up to buy remaining tickets.

A combination of factors contributed to slow sales, including the price of the tickets, which ranged from $102 to $125 and was set by the NFL. The league reduced prices the following year in tacit acknowledgement of having gotten ahead of the market. Also, it was the first playoff game at an expanded Lambeau Field, which had 7,000 more seats than the year before. Without the expansion, a sellout would have been achieved before the deadline. And finally, the weather forecast for the game called for arctic conditions. Temperatures were expected to be around 0, with a wind chill of minus 11.

The National Weather Service forecast for this Sunday's game is mostly sunny with a higher near 19 degrees.

Another factor might have been a Packers' ticket-refund policy that had money applied to the following year's season tickets for unplayed postseason games. That was an option in the past, but mandatory during the 2013-14 season. In subsequent years, season-ticket and waiting-list fans could choose a pay-as-they-play option or have money carried forward to the next year in the event no game was played.

"We've have seen participation in (the pay-as-they-play option) increase each year," Popkey said. "You can pay as you play or do full payment and have it applied next year. Some people still simply take that path."

For general public sales, the Packers offer a full refund if there is no game.

Contact rryman@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @RichRymanPG, onInstagram at rrymanpgor on Facebook at Richard Ryman-Press-Gazette. Or call him at (920) 431-8342.

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