Around the NFL: Packers Crush Vikings, 49ers Win Again, Playoff Picture Update, More

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Around the NFL: Packers Crush Vikings, 49ers Win Again, Playoff Picture Update, More

Chicago Bears

Thanks, Vikings. Minnesota’s dud of a performance at Lambeau not only kept the Packers alive for another week but gave them control of their destiny in Week 18.

Packers Crush Vikings, Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

The Green Bay Packers had a 13 percent chance to make the playoffs when I started doing these playoff picture updates in this space a few weeks ago. They’re now a win away from punching their ticket to the final seed in the NFC playoff picture after blasting the Vikings at home on Sunday.

The Packers are now in a win-and-in scenario after rattling off four straight wins heading into Week 18. A win against the Lions next weekend is all they need to make the postseason because it would give them another conference victory, which would be the tiebreaker between the Packers and Seahawks if they were both to win their Week 18 matchup.

Justin Jefferson’s hopes of making NFL history this season went out the window with a dud of a day (1 reception, 15 yards, 0 touchdowns), and Jaire Alexander had plenty of things to say about his matchup with Jefferson after the game.

The loss for Minnesota dropped them down to the third seed in the NFC playoff picture and continued to add fuel to the “Minnesota is a fraud” fire. The Vikings look like a team that will have some problems in the postseason and might even be a one-and-done contender depending on who they get matched against in the first round.

49ers Jump Minnesota with Win in Vegas

The 49ers keep finding ways to win. After a 3-4 start to the season that has included San Francisco losing Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo for the season to injuries, the 49ers have won nine straight and moved into the No. 2 seed in the NFC with their overtime win over the Raiders on Sunday.

After Robbie Gould missed a 41-yard field goal that would have won the game, the veteran kicker got another shot in overtime thanks to a Jarrett Stidham interception on the first drive of the extra period. Gould drilled a 23-yarder to secure the Niners’ ninth straight win in Vegas.

The Raiders dropped to 6-10 on the season with the loss and were officially eliminated from playoff contention. Jarrett Stidham threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 34 yards in the losing effort for Vegas.

For the first time since taking over for the injured Garoppolo last month, Brock Purdy looked shaky in the second half against the Raiders. Vegas fired off a steady diet of blitzes against Purdy, and the 49ers and Purdy missed some shots deep and threw an ugly interception on an underthrow to George Kittle. Thankfully for Purdy, Kyle Shanahan knows how to scheme and adjust. Once the adjustments were made, Purdy bounced back nicely and finished with 284 yards while completing 22-of-35 passes.

The 49ers can secure the No. 2 seed in the NFC with a win over the Cardinals in Week 18 or a Minnesota loss to the Bears. Even if the Vikings beat the Bears, a 49ers win will be good enough since they own a tiebreaker over the Vikings.

AFC Playoff Picture

Here’s where the AFC playoff picture stands after the weekend of NFL action (x: clinched playoff, y: clinched wild card, z: clinched division):

  1. xz – Kansas City Chiefs (13-3)
  2. xz – Buffalo Bills (12-3)
  3. x – Cincinnati Bengals (11-4)
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)
  5. x – Los Angeles Chargers (10-6)
  6. x – Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
  7. New England Patriots (8-8)

In the hunt:

  • Miami Dolphins (8-8)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
  • Tennessee Titans (7-9)

NFC Playoff Picture

Here’s where the NFC playoff picture stands after the weekend of NFL action (x: clinched playoff, y: clinched wild card, z: clinched division):

  1. x- Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)
  2. xz – San Francisco 49ers (12-4)
  3. xz – Minnesota Vikings (12-4)
  4. xz – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8)
  5. x – Dallas Cowboys (12-4)
  6. x – New York Giants (9-6-1)
  7. Seattle Seahawks (8-8)

In the hunt:

  • Detroit Lions (8-8)
  • Green Bay Packers (8-8)

Extra Points

  • After a 2-6 start, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in a position to make the playoffs with a win in Week 18 and some help, and Mike Tomlin can extend his streak of non-losing seasons whether they make the playoffs or not. Kenny Pickett led the Steelers on a game-winning drive on Sunday Night Football as Pittsburgh knocked off the Ravens in Baltimore.
  • The loss for the Ravens drops them down to the sixth seed in the AFC playoffs picture. The loss also gives the Bengals a chance to clinch the AFC North with a win over the Bills tonight. Kenny Pickett has been pretty darn good lately:
  • Washington’s loss on Sunday eliminated them from NFC playoff contention:
  • And amazingly, Ron Rivera wasn’t even aware that was a possibility:
  • Tom Brady and the Buccaneers rallied late to beat the Carolina Panthers at home to clinch the NFC South title and a spot in the playoffs. The NFC South title is the 19th division title that Tom Brady has won in his career.
  • Patrick Mahomes is now also a wide receiver!?

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.