NFL saves Packers vs. Lions for last. The teams will meet Sunday night in the final regular-season game
GREEN BAY – The NFL has chosen what it deems best for last.
In the final regular-season game of the 2022 season, the Green Bay Packers will host the Detroit Lions at 7:20 p.m. Sunday on NBC's "Sunday Night Football".
The NFL waited until Monday to announce the times of all but the two Saturday games, allowing the league to align the most attractive games with the best broadcast times.
The 8-8 Packers will be the No. 7 seed in the NFC playoffs if they beat the 8-8 Lions at Lambeau Field. The Lions will clinch the No. 7 seed if they beat the Packers and the Seattle Seahawks lose to the Los Angeles Rams.
The Seahawks and Rams play at 3:25 p.m., so the Lions will know if they have a chance at the playoffs. If the Seahawks win, the Lions would be playing only to be a spoiler for the Packers’ playoff chances.
This will mark the fourth time this year the Packers have played the Sunday night game. They are 1-2 in those games, beating the Chicago Bears and losing to the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles.
Coach Matt LaFleur said he’s fine with playing a primetime Sunday game on the final week of the season.
"It really doesn't matter, but I do think the environment at Lambeau Field at night time is unlike any other place,” he said. “We need our fans to show up, support us and don’t sell your tickets to Lions fans, please.”
The Packers are coming off a 41-17 victory over another NFC North rival, the Minnesota Vikings, on Sunday. The Vikings were still in the running for the No. 1 seed before the game and had plenty of motivation to beat the Packers.
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LaFleur's team has won four straight games since losing to the Eagles in Philadelphia Nov. 27 and have known since after that game they would probably have to go undefeated the rest of the way to have a shot at the playoffs.
"I think we've kind of been in that playoff mindset,” LaFleur said. “When we're sitting there 4-8 - I actually think it was probably before that to be honest with you - just knowing how critical every game was.
“To get to this point, and for it to play out the way it has is. It's exciting. It's exciting, obviously for our team, for our fans.”
Regardless of the Lions’ motivations, the Packers’ final game will require one of their better defensive performances of the year. The Lions have a top-five ranked offense and beat the Chicago Bears, 41-10, Sunday to even their record at .500
“We’ve got a huge challenge in front of us, a team that already beat us once this year,” LaFleur said. “And I know that they have a lot to play for as well. And I think (coach) Dan (Campbell) has done a hell of a job just getting that team to kind of flip the narrative.
“And I mean, they're a dangerous team. Even some of the games they've lost they're right there against really good teams. We're going to have to play our best ball, no doubt about it.”