NFL Week 18 schedule favors Packers, Aaron Rodgers, and Seahawks have reason to be upset

Cries from coaches, players, and fans that the NFL is biased toward popular teams and superstar players are among the few criticisms the league consistently repels.

After all, competitive balance is the league’s motto. Any Sunday, and all of them. Most of the conspiracy theories aren’t exactly rocked either. No, the referee wasn’t trying to set up a specific matchup, but missed that pass interference call.

Still, the NFL has done things like schedule Week 18, and we can see why the allegations of favoritism continue.

As we enter the final week of the season, the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks are vying for the final playoff spot in the NFC.

Green Bay needs to beat Detroit to get the bid.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers may have taken a big break from the NFL by picking up Sunday night’s slot for a do-or-die season finale against the Detroit Lions. (AP Photo/Molly Gash)

Seattle needs to beat the Los Angeles Rams and then let the Lions beat the Packers.

Meanwhile, Detroit needs to beat Green Bay and let Seattle lose.

It is natural, appropriate, fair and sensible to have a Detroit-Green Bay game and a Rams-Seattle game at the same time. That way, even if Seattle wins, it won’t affect Detroit’s competitiveness. The Lions didn’t know they were eliminated before they started playing.

This is the exact standard used by other professional leagues under such scenarios. It is especially used in European soccer, where regular season standings determine the champion.

However, instead of all three teams playing at the same time, i.e. in the late afternoon window on Sunday, the NFL moved the Detroit-Green Bay game to Sunday night at 8:25pm. We will play Los Angeles at 4:25 PM Standard Time.

So if Seattle beats the bottom-ranked Rams (5-11), the Lions will be eliminated before kickoff.

Maybe that’s affecting Detroit’s efforts. Probably not, the Lions will play their best to win and ruin Green Bay’s season.

no one knows However, you don’t have to risk Seattle finding out.

The Seattle Seahawks are vying for a playoff spot in the final week of the regular season, and the schedule may not be in their favor.  (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks are vying for a playoff spot in the final week of the regular season, and the schedule may not be in their favor. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

This, perhaps not coincidentally, is a clear advantage for Green Bay as a historic franchise with a much bigger TV draw and featuring one of the league’s biggest stars in quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

It doesn’t take much imagination to realize that the NFL and its broadcasting partners would rather Rodgers and the Packers into the playoffs than Seattle and its QB Genno Smith.

The NFL should have avoided this, if only to avoid suggesting bias.

Therefore, I was under the impression that I intentionally set Green Bay to take precedence, or that I set Green Bay to take precedence.

Either way, it could have been completely avoided. This is a self-inflicted credibility wound.

Indeed, NBC is very happy to have Rodgers and the Packers in the virtual playoff game on Sunday. Even if Detroit were eliminated before the game, Green Bay would have to win…and Seattle fans would have seen the Packers lose.

If the Rams ever upset Seattle in any way, it’s the Detroit-Green Bay play-in game.

Anyway, the rating is very high.

Regardless of the scenario, late packers have an additional advantage. As Rodgers pointed out a few weeks ago, Detroit plays its home games in the dome. Green Bay has historically entertained that sort of team when they have to play outside in the Wisconsin winter.

Well, the temperature is lower at night than in the afternoon. Small things, absolutely. But that’s okay.

If the NFL has one purpose and Seattle fans can look forward to it, it’s that the Lions team has embraced head coach Dan Campbell’s personality. A chance to win, a chance to ruin the season for Rodgers and the Packers, a chance to compete would be enough.

But no one really knows. This is a theory that does not need to be tested.

Seattle deserves better. No matter what happened, the NFL’s long-standing claim was that no team had an advantage over another, as they were beaten by this decision.

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