Packers thrash Vikings, Niners win thriller in Las Vegas

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The Green Bay Packers are a win away from what once looked an unlikely Wild Card berth after they crushed the Minnesota Vikings 41-17 at Lambeau Field.

A playoff place looked a faint possibility when the Packers lost seven of eight games after a 3-1 start to drop to 4-8.

They responded by reeling off three straight wins prior to the visit of division rivals and NFC North champions the Vikings, but still faced the prospect of being eliminated with a loss.

That prospect looked all the more likely when, after a blocked punt, the Vikings got the ball at Green Bay's one-yard line.

However, the Packers held the Vikings to a field goal from there, setting the tone for a nightmare game for Minnesota.

Keisean Nixon returned the subsequent kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown to give Green Bay the lead, which was extended when Darnell Savage returned an interception on a deflected Kirk Cousins pass 75 yards.

Cousins turnovers were a theme of the day, with an interception by Adrian Amos setting up a 21-yard touchdown throw from Rodgers to Robert Tonyan, and a lost fumble in the redzone allowed the Packers to regain possession and drive down the field for A.J. Dillon to make it 34-3.

Another Cousins interception, this time picked off by Rudy Ford, put the Packers in position to pile on further misery with a two-yard run from Rodgers, who now can lead the 8-8 Packers into the postseason with victory over the Detroit Lions next Sunday.

Defeat for the 12-4 Vikings sees them fall out of the second seed, meaning the chance to potentially host two home playoff games is out of their hands heading into Week 18.


The San Francisco 49ers now occupy the two seed, having held off the Las Vegas Raiders in a remarkable game at Allegiant Stadium.

A San Francisco blowout was anticipated but did not materialise, with Raiders quarterback Jarrett Stidham leading them to 500 yards of offense in his first start after Derek Carr was benched.

Brock Purdy and the 49ers put up 454 yards of their own and, after a Robbie Gould missed field goal sent the game to overtime, Tashaun Gipson's interception of Stidham set up the San Francisco kicker to redeem himself and clinch a wild 37-34 win.

San Francisco's division rivals the Seattle Seahawks cruised to a 23-6 win over the New York Jets, whose playoff hopes look to be all but over. Seattle will qualify for the postseason with a win over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 18 and a Packers loss to the Lions.