The Lions become the first NFC North team to sweep the Packers since they did so in 2018, eliminating Green Bay from playoff contention

The Green Bay Packers seemed to have everything going their way from the help they needed from other teams to winning four games in a row. However, the Detroit Lions prevented the Packers from completing the turnaround from 4-8 to 9-8 and into the playoffs with a 20-16 road win. Instead, the Seattle Seahawks take the final NFC wild card spot, and they will play the second-seeded San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Wild Card round. The Lions are the first NFC North team since the 2018 Lions to sweep the Green Bay Packers. 

Former Packer Jamaal Williams scored the Lions’ only touchdowns, both 1-yard scores, to hit 17 rushing touchdowns on the season, breaking Hall of Famer Barry Sanders’ single-season record of 16 set in 1991. Ten of the 17 came from a yard out, including both tonight. Aaron Rodgers couldn’t quite find a rhythm, throwing for 205 yards, one touchdown, and an interception on the Packers’ final offensive possession. The Lions were able to bleed the final 3:27 off the clock following a fourth-and-1 conversion on a play-action pass from quarterback Jared Goff to receiver DJ Chark. 

The Packers had their chances, but they couldn’t capitalize, settling for four field goals and making three. Green Bay was driving in the second quarter, but a fumble from running back Aaron Jones stalled that drive. Rodgers also appeared to be flustered by the Lions’ pass rush all night, throwing balls into the dirt or off target when flushed in the pocket. Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, the second overall draft pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, accounted for both Detroit sacks to run his season total to 9.5, the most among all rookies this season. 

Even though the Lions didn’t make the playoffs this season, a 9-8 record, it was Detroit’s first winning season since 2017. Plus Sunday night’s win caps a strong case for Jared Goff to remain as Detroit’s starting quarterback entering next season. The 28-year-old passer, the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, threw 17 touchdowns and only one interception in their last 10 games, the best touchdown-to-interception in the entire league down the stretch. Goff finishes with 324 consecutive passes without an interception, the longest streak in Lions history.

Now, all eyes turn to the 39-year-old Rodgers, who has said repeatedly that he plans to go year-to-year with his playing career. If Sunday night was the final game of his career, Rodgers would be retiring with the most passing touchdowns in franchise history, 475, as well as NFL MVPs, four, including each of the last two. Both of the NFC North teams that played Sunday will now enter the offseason, albeit with much different outlooks. 

Why the Lions won

They turned more of their red zone trips into touchdowns. Detroit got two scores inside the 20 on their five red zone jaunts, both rushing touchdowns from Jamaal Williams, and the Packers only got one, Rodgers’ passing touchdown to receiver Allen Lazard, on their two red zone opportunities. Detroit also played turnover-free football while Green Bay’s two Aaron’s, Rodgers and Jones, both had turnovers at key moments. Winning the turnover battle and being more efficient in the red zone will lead to victory more often than not. 

Why the Packers lost

Once again, the Packers offense failed to come through when they needed it most. They got away with kicking field goals against the Miami Dolphins on Christmas Day thanks to Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa throwing three consecutive interceptions to end the game. However, their defense couldn’t get the one last stop required to get Rodgers and the offense the ball back. It was jarring seeing Rodgers needing to get bailed out by his defense so routinely when the opposite has been the case for most of his 14 years as the Packers’ starting quarterback. Whether it’s lingering issues from an early-season thumb fracture or being 39 years old in the freezing cold at Lambeau Field, the way this season unfolded leaves both Rodgers and the Packers front office much to think about when it comes to the quarterback position for Green Bay. 

Turning point 

.@JKERB25 keeps making plays!#DETvsGB ๐Ÿ“บ NBC pic.twitter.com/wZ4FsM1HTAโ€” Detroit Lions (@Lions) January 9, 2023

With just over three-and-a-half minutes left in the game, Rodgers and the Packers offense had the ball, trailing 20-16. More often than not, a game like that at home at Lambeau Field in January ends up as a Green Bay victory. However, Lions rookie safety Kerby Joseph had other ideas, intercepting Rodgers’ third-and-10 heave down the right sideline. That pass ended up being the last one Rodgers made in the 2022 season as Detroit bled the remaining time on the clock, swinging the game. Joseph also became the first player ever to intercept Rodgers three times in a season after getting him twice in the Week 9 matchup. 

Play of the game

Boom.#DETvsGB ๐Ÿ“บ NBC pic.twitter.com/1QRGaO2llkโ€” Detroit Lions (@Lions) January 9, 2023

It wasn’t flashy, but it was a game-sealer. After Lions head coach Dan Campbell built his team’s reputation on smashmouth football and “biting kneecaps”, he trusted Goff to stand all alone in the shotgun and fire a dart to Chark to end the game. It’s a play like this that could mean much, much more for both Goff’s and Campbell’s futures in the Motor City. 

What’s next

Both the Lions and the Packers enter the offseason as the Seattle Seahawks slide into the NFC’s seventh seed, courtesy of their 48-45 head-to-head win in Detroit over the Lions in Week 4. Detroit took a big step forward in its rebuild under Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes. They will have two first round picks in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft: the sixth overall pick, courtesy of the final first rounder included in the Matthew Stafford-Jared Goff swap, and the 18th overall pick, their own selection. 

Meanwhile, the Packers have the 15th overall pick, and they also have to sort both Rodgers’ and 2020 first round pick quarterback Jordan Love’s futures as they contemplate their best path forward. Green Bay can take solace in their defensive turnaround since Week 13, and rookie wide receiver Christian Watson, their 2022 second-round pick, turning a corner and scoring eight scrimmage touchdowns from Weeks 10-18, tied for the fourth-most in the NFL in that span with 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey, Chargers running back Austin Ekeler, and Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. 

Live updates

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What this Lions win means…

THE SHOW GOES ON! pic.twitter.com/aGUiuLVxM8โ€” Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) January 9, 2023

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Tyler Sullivan

3 hrs ago

GOFF. CHARK. GAME OVER. #DETvsGB pic.twitter.com/2Xbn0PvuuNโ€” NFL (@NFL) January 9, 2023

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Tyler Sullivan

3 hrs ago

What a gutsy call by Dan Campbell not only to go for it on fourth-and-1 but PASS on fourth down. And it works. Green Bay is eliminated from playoff consideration and Seattle will be the No. 7 seed in the NFC. 

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Tyler Sullivan

3 hrs ago

What a call by Dan Campbell! Lions on the doorstep of sending the Seahawks to the playoffs and the Packers into the offseason. 

THIS PLAY CALL ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

๐Ÿ“บ: #DETvsGB on NBC
๐Ÿ“ฑ: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/9hDtJVDM1m pic.twitter.com/dXYop9Lsy8โ€” NFL (@NFL) January 9, 2023

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Tyler Sullivan

3 hrs ago

Aaron Rodgers now has four interceptions vs the Lions this season. He had only four against them from 2011-21 combined.  

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Garrett Podell

3 hrs ago

Aaron Rodgers just threw his 12th interception of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. The Lions take over at the Packers 45 with 3:27 left to play up four, 20-16. The 18-year veteran is one interception away from tying his career-high of 13 set in 2008, his first season as the Packers starting quarterback. Lions cornerback Kirby Joseph became the first player to intercept Rodgers three times in a season.

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Garrett Podell

3 hrs ago

With that touchdown, Jamaal Williams scores his 17th rushing score, breaking Hall of Famer Barry Sanders’ franchise single-season record of 16 set back in 1991. Ten of Williams’ 17 rushing touchdowns have been from a yard out, just like both of them have been tonight. 20-16 Lions with 5:55 left in the fourth quarter. 

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Garrett Podell

3 hrs ago

17 TOUCHDOWNS. A new @Lions single-season record! @Jswaggdaddy gives Detroit the lead.

๐Ÿ“บ: #DETvsGB on NBC
๐Ÿ“ฑ: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/9hDtJVDM1m pic.twitter.com/y1Ru16VL6Qโ€” NFL (@NFL) January 9, 2023

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Tyler Sullivan

3 hrs ago

Most rush TD in a single season in @Lions history:

1. Jamaal Williams – 17
2. Barry Sanders – 16 pic.twitter.com/Wyd1EMqms3โ€” NFL on CBS ๐Ÿˆ (@NFLonCBS) January 9, 2023

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Tyler Sullivan

3 hrs ago

That’s the second time Quay Walker was been disqualified from a game this season. He was also thrown out in Week 8 on Sunday Night Football at the Buffalo Bills. 

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Garrett Podell

3 hrs ago

Here’s the situation that got Walker ejected. 

This is one of the dumbest things youโ€™ll ever see in a football game.

Quay Walker shoved the athletic trainer and was ejected.
pic.twitter.com/SdgEUSBb5Cโ€” Fantasy Football Today (@FFToday) January 9, 2023

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Tyler Sullivan

3 hrs ago

And the officials just announced that Walker has been disqualified. 

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Tyler Sullivan

3 hrs ago

D’Andre Swift went down awkwardly after that reception from Goff. Quay Walker was then penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after he shoved a member of the medical staff of the Lions as they tried to tend to Swift. Can’t have that. 

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Tyler Sullivan

3 hrs ago

Penalties have been killer for the Lions tonight. A holding penalty negated a flea-flicker touchdown in the first half and now an illegal use of hands penalty negates an interception by the defense off Rodgers. 

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Tyler Sullivan

4 hrs ago

Massive three-and-out forced by this Packers defense. Gets the offense back on the field quickly after that previous touchdown drive. 

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Tyler Sullivan

4 hrs ago

This amazing catch by Raymond gets him to 600 receiving yards, which triggers a $250k bonus (h/t MMQB). 

GOFF GOES DEEP.

๐Ÿ“บ: #DETvsGB on NBC
๐Ÿ“ฑ: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/9hDtJVDM1m pic.twitter.com/lDFL8tYjSEโ€” NFL (@NFL) January 9, 2023

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Tyler Sullivan

4 hrs ago

Rodgers to Lazard. @Packers answer back!

๐Ÿ“บ: #DETvsGB on NBC
๐Ÿ“ฑ: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/9hDtJVDM1m pic.twitter.com/fGl98MraZmโ€” NFL (@NFL) January 9, 2023

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Tyler Sullivan

4 hrs ago

The play-action holds up the Lions defense just long enough for Aaron Rodgers to laser in a 13-yard touchdown to #13, Allen Lazard. The Packers take a 16-13 lead with 3:17 to go in the third quarter.. The score was set up by Christian Watson’s 45-yard snag down the right sideline that put Green Bay on the Lions 14. 

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Garrett Podell

4 hrs ago

And just like that, we have an offensive explosion! After zero touchdowns in the first half, the Lions and Packers scored back-to-back touchdowns. Green Bay’s most recent scoring drive was sparked by a 45-yard reception by Christian Watson, who put them inside the red zone. Then, Allen Lazard finished it off with a 13-yard touchdown. 

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Tyler Sullivan

4 hrs ago

Jared Goff just completed the biggest play of the game thus far– a 43-yard bomb off of play-action to Kalif Raymond to get the Lions down to the one. Former Packer Jamaal Williams finds his way to the end zone one play later. It’s his 16th rushing score of the season, tying Barry Sanders’ franchise single-season record that was set in the 1991 season. The Lions lead 13-9 with 8:05 left in the third quarter. 

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Garrett Podell

4 hrs ago

A week ago, Mason Crosby hit a 52-yard field goal by doinking it off the crossbar. Tonight, he missed that same kick from one yard back, 53 yards. The score remains 9-6 with 9:32 left in the third quarter. The Lions will start their next drive at their own 43. 

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Garrett Podell

4 hrs ago

The Packers pick up right where they left off in the first half, forcing a three-and-out. Green Bay takes over for their first possession of the second half up 9-6 with 13:13 left in the first half. 

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Garrett Podell

4 hrs ago

The Lions connect on a 33-yard field goal to end the half, and the Packers lead 9-6 entering the locker room. room. Green Bay out-gained the Detroit by only three yards, 138-135, and both teams totaled eight first downs. Both teams playing similar levels of football early on. 

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Garrett Podell

4 hrs ago

FUMBLE. @Lions take over before halftime.

๐Ÿ“บ: #DETvsGB on NBC
๐Ÿ“ฑ: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/9hDtJVDM1m pic.twitter.com/dk4C7gggiAโ€” NFL (@NFL) January 9, 2023

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Tyler Sullivan

5 hrs ago

AJ Dillon is 6’0, 247 pounds. Him lunging forward gets more than enough to move the chains on fourth and one. The Packers drive continues as we hit the two-minute warning. 

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Garrett Podell

5 hrs ago

The Rodgers special.

๐Ÿ“บ: #DETvsGB on NBC
๐Ÿ“ฑ: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/9hDtJVDM1m pic.twitter.com/o1oEbenfGiโ€” NFL (@NFL) January 9, 2023

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Tyler Sullivan

5 hrs ago

Aaron Rodgers, the master of the hard count. 

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Tyler Sullivan

5 hrs ago

Simply can’t have that delay of game penalty if you’re Green Bay. Felt like it was inevitable though as we saw LaFleur needing to call a timeout to avoid it earlier on this drive. 

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Tyler Sullivan

5 hrs ago

The Lions can’t capitalize on their most sustained drive of the game as kicker Michael Badgley hooks a 46-yard field goal wide left. The score remains 9-3 in favor of the Packers with 6:13 left to play. They will start their next drive on their own 36.

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Garrett Podell

5 hrs ago

I wonder if we’ll see more play-action by the Lions as this game progresses. It could be what helps move the chains. The Packers secondary is allowing a 117.5 passer rating against play-action this season, third worst in the NFL. They are also allowing 12 passing touchdowns off play-action (30th in NFL). 

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