The Green Bay Packers don’t care about playoff scenarios.
The only absolute about this Sunday’s game against Minnesota is that one more win over their NFC North Division rival guarantees the Packers the NFC’s No. 2 seed in the playoffs and the first-round bye that comes along with it.
Standing in front of the podium on Monday, that's what Packers coach Mike McCarthy was interested in rather than the hypotheticals, which includes one scenario where the Packers play Minnesota again the following week if they happen to lose Sunday.
Instead, McCarthy plans to stuck to his game plan – play his starters, win the game and get rested for the postseason.
“I really don’t care to talk about any type of scenarios like that. We’re really focused on beating the Vikings,” McCarthy said. “That’s the way you have to do it. We sat here last week and talked about what needed to be done and just look at how much it changes in one week. There are so many different scenarios out there, especially in the NFC with the way things can shake down. We’re just focused on beating the Vikings.”
With San Francisco’s 42-13 loss to Seattle on Sunday night, the Packers’ 55-7 thrashing of Tennessee moved them a ½ game ahead of the 49ers (10-4-1), who play Arizona (5-10) in their regular-season finale.
Following their own lopsided victory – a 23-6 drubbing of the 12-win Houston Texans – the surprising Vikings (9-6) have plenty to play for, as well, as a victory over the Packers would ensure them their first playoff bid since Brett Favre took them to the brink of the Super Bowl during the 2009 season.
If their unsuccessful in beating the Packers, the Vikings still could also clinch a postseason nod under two other circumstances:
1) A tie against Green Bay and Chicago loss or tie
2) A Dallas loss or tie coupled with a New York Giants loss or tie and Bears loss.
“I think this is exactly the way you’d want it going into the playoffs, especially with this year’s team,” said McCarthy, whose team beat Minnesota 23-14 earlier this month. “I still feel that we have the ability to be even better. I don’t think we’ve consistently played our best football yet. We obviously had a very decisive victory against the Titans, but this football team still has more in front of it.
“And that’s what I’m excited about – having the opportunity to play a playoff-type game, a playoff-game atmosphere, on the road with the crowd noise and both teams have a lot on the line. Shoot, I think it’s great for our football team.”
The NFL flexed the matchup from its noon Central start time to 3:25 p.m. on Sunday.