NFL Moves Lions-Packers To Sunday Night Football, Which Is Very Unfair To The Seahawks

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The NFL officially set the schedule for Week 18 and it sure seems like they want Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs. Lions-Packers will be the final game of the regular season, and that’s extremely unfair to the Seattle Seahawks.

In the battle for the final playoff spot in the NFC, the Seahawks, Packers and Lions all have an opportunity to reach the postseason.

The NFL generally tries to make sure teams who are relying on other teams for their playoff fates play at the same time. The reason for that is simple: if a team is eliminated by an earlier result, that affects how that team will play.

Despite that general rule, the NFL is going to provide that exact scenario on Sunday. The Seahawks and Rams will kickoff at 4:25ET/1:25PT. But the Lions and Packers will kickoff at 8:20ET/5:20PT.

The Packers control their own destiny. If they beat the Lions, they are in. The Seahawks and Lions both need help. Seattle needs to beat the Rams and then they need the Lions to defeat the Packers.

For Detroit to get into the dance, they need the Seahawks to lose to the Rams and then they need to beat the Packers.

The Lions-Packers rematch being moved to Sunday Night Football is bad news for the Seahawks.
The Lions-Packers rematch being moved to Sunday Night Football is bad news for the Seahawks. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

Here’s the problem: if Seattle — a touchdown favorite at home — defeats the Rams in a game played late Sunday afternoon, then Detroit’s season is over. That means when Sunday Night Football kicks off, Detroit could have nothing to play for.

Seahawks get worst of Lions-Packers moving to Sunday Night Football

If the Rams-Seahawks and Lions-Packers games kicked off simultaneously, Detroit would have no knowledge whether or not their victory means anything.

Now, I imagine Detroit wants to knock Aaron Rodgers and the Packers out of the playoffs. There is no doubt that Dan Campbell’s team is motivated to accomplish that, even if their own playoff dreams are dead.

However, these players and coaches are also human. Ankle a little sore? Why risk it?

AJ Dillon comes steaming through the hole and you are playing for nothing? Might be time to make a business decision.

I sympathize with the NFL in that there aren’t many games that directly result in a playoff appearance. That’s usually what they try to do with that game.

Jacksonville and Tennessee are playing one another in Week 18 with a playoff berth on the line. The outcome of their game has no impact on any other team.

So why didn’t they choose that game? Simple: they want Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in that massive television spot and not Josh Dobbs and Tennessee playing Jacksonville.

Aaron Rodgers playing for a playoff spot in the final game of the season is great television. The NFL is entertainment, after all.

Instead, the Jacksonville-Tennessee game will be played in primetime, but on Saturday night instead of Sunday. That’s a much less glamorous spot.

The NFL is choosing television drama over competitive balance. That’s fine, since the goal is to provide the best product.

Just don’t lecture us about fairness. Or anything else, really.


Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @OutkickDanZ

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.

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