The Green Bay Packers face a very straightforward situation on Sunday night at Lambeau Field: beat the Detroit Lions and they are the final NFC Wild Card team and qualify for the playoffs; lose the game and their season is over, wait till next year.
This is hardly new territory for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. In fact, it is the fourth time the team has been in this situation since Rodgers took over as the team’s starting quarterback in 2008 after the departure of Brett Favre to the New York Jets.
Here is a look back at the previous three times the Packers faced win and you’re in, lose and go home situations in the season finale:
2010 Week 17: Bears at Packers
The Bears had already clinched the NFC North title that year while the Packers needed to win this game to earn the sixth and final wild card spot in the playoffs.
It was only 19 degrees at kickoff with a wind chill of five above and the game quickly became a defensive struggle. The Packers trailed 3-0 at halftime.
The Green Bay defense picked off Jay Cutler twice with Nick Collins and Charlie Peprah doing the honors. They also sacked the Bears quarterback six times led by Erik Walden who had two. Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews and Howard Green each had one while A.J. Hawk and Jarius Wynn had a half each.
The Packers tied the game late in the third quarter on a 23-yard field goal by Mason Crosby and then took the lead for good early in the fourth quarter on a five- play, 75-yard drive that included a 21-yard pass to Donald Driver and a 46-yard toss to Greg Jennings on consecutive plays. Rodgers got the winning points on a one-yard toss to tight end Donald Lee.
The Bears reached the Packers 32 with 20 seconds left before Collins picked off Cutler’s pass intended for Devin Hester to clinch the Packers win and send them to the playoffs.
The Pack then won three straight road playoff games to reach the Super Bowl. The third win was in Chicago as the Packers made the Bears pay for failing to eliminate them. The Packers defeated the Steelers to win Super Bowl XLV.
2013 Week 17: Packers at Bears
Rodgers hadn’t played since Week 8 because of a broken collarbone and Randall Cobb hadn’t played since Week 5 but the two combined for a huge moment that gave the Packers a 33-28 win over the Bears and the NFC North Division title.
On fourth down and eight with 38 seconds left, Rodgers got a block from fullback John Kuhn on Bears DE Julius Peppers and found Cobb all alone deep downfield for a 48-yard touchdown pass that gave the Packers the win 33-28.
Rodgers threw for 318 yards and two touchdowns but was picked off on each of the team’s first two possessions as he shook off some rust. Cobb caught both touchdown passes while Jordy Nelson had 10 catches for 161 yards. James Starks ran for 88 yards on just 11 carries while Eddie Lacy added 66 yards and a rushing touchdown.
The win gave the Pack their third consecutive division title and fifth straight playoff berth while sending the Bears back into hibernation until next season.
2016 Week 17 Packers at Lions
The Packers won their sixth straight game to run the table and win the NFC North title with a 31-24 win over the Lions in Detroit. The winner of this game would win the division while the Lions ended up settling for the wild card.
Rodgers threw for 300 yard and four touchdown passes in the game including two to Davante Adams and one each to Aaron Ripkowski and Geronimo Allison.
It was the sixth straight win for the Packers and the third consecutive loss for the Lions.
The Packers took a 14-point lead with 2:50 left in the game on Adams’ second TD catch but after the Lions scored to pull within one score with 13 seconds left, the Packers recovered the ensuing onsides kick to seal the victory.
Rodgers also ran for 42 yards in this game on 10 carries and used his mobility to avoid the pass rush and extend plays so his receivers could get open downfield.
The Packers advanced to the NFC Championship Game that year before falling to the Atlanta Falcons.
Overall, the Packers are 3-0 in win and you’re in season finales since Rodgers took over as quarterback. They get a chance to extend that record Sunday at Lambeau Field against Detroit.
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