Is an NFC North Matchup Realistic in NFCC?

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While the Minnesota Vikings didn’t make the playoffs, and the Chicago Bears’ late run didn’t give them a berth, the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions advanced to the postseason. Now, with each having won a first-round game, could we get an NFC North matchup in the conference championship?

Is an NFC North Matchup Realistic in NFCC?

The highlight of Wild Card Weekend was certainly circled as Matthew Stafford’s return to Detroit. Having been traded for Jared Goff, the former Detroit Lions signal-caller went to Los Angeles and won a Super Bowl with Sean McVay. After years of ineptitude and poor organization in Detroit, Stafford finally got to put it all together.

north matchup realistic
Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt (95) chases Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) during their football game Thursday, September 28, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. © Wm. Glasheen / USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK.

This year, the Lions had executed beyond their wildest imaginations, and a resurgence to relevance occurred. The Rams came in as underdogs but played some of the best football across the entire league. Despite a well-fought game, it was the home Lions that emerged victorious and will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional round this weekend.

Matt LaFleur’s Green Bay Packers were not expected to provide as exciting a game as the one in Detroit. The Dallas Cowboys hosted the contest and were big home favorites, with former Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy leading Jerry Jones’ club. Dak Prescott and America’s Team fell flat, though, and despite coasting late, the Packers took it to Dallas.

Now, both teams are a win away from a matchup to go to the Super Bowl, and seeing that play out could be a good deal of fun. Is it plausible, though?

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Hosting their second game and getting the Buccaneers rather than the slumping Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit is a six-point home favorite. Goff and the offense should look to exploit Tampa Bay and find a way to move on. The two teams met early during the regular season, with the Lions winning 20-6 in Florida.

The more complicated matchup and impressive upset would be Jordan Love beating the San Francisco 49ers. It’s one thing to knock off a flawed Cowboys team on the road but to go into a Super Bowl favorite’s house and emerge victorious is different. The 49ers are a well-oiled machine, and Kyle Shanahan’s team has so many different ways to beat you. Brock Purdy will be quarterbacking a huge game, but playing within himself allows the playmakers around him to do the heavy lifting.

2nd Chances
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If somehow both teams emerge victorious, the Packers and Lions would face off for the third time this season. Neither team beat the other at home, and it would take a home win for Detroit to make the Super Bowl. Love was near-perfect in his playoff debut, and Green Bay’s arrow has been trending up for weeks. The first round was impressive for both teams, but putting the division on serious notice would definitely take place should both squads emerge victorious again.

It seems unlikely that Green Bay can pull off yet another upset, but how they handled the Cowboys wasn’t predicted either/ Pandemonium could be caused by the NFC North, and it would set up a fun championship matchup.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.