Packers in the playoffs? It's possible, but the Vikings really need to lose two of their last three games
The Packers' playoff chances may be minimal, but there remains a path to the postseason after Sunday’s win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Green Bay (5-7-1) needs a lot of help (and needs to win its final three games), but here’s a breakdown of how the Packers can get into the postseason.
The biggest problem is that both Minnesota and Seattle have healthy leads on Green Bay for wild-card spots, and if both finish that way, the Packers are out. But the Packers only need to finish ahead of one of them.
Since Minnesota (6-6-1) owns the head-to-head tiebreaker with Green Bay, the Vikings finishing at 8-7-1 is as good as a defeat to Green Bay, so the Packers need the Vikings to lose that extra game and finish no better than 7-8-1. Seattle (8-5) would need to lose all three games to finish behind the Packers, so it's reasonable to assume the Seahawks will finish ahead. Given what’s left on the Seahawks’ schedule, it's highly unlikely that they’ll lose their final three, whereas Minnesota at least has a chance of stumbling down the stretch. The final playoff spot, for now, belongs to Minnesota, and that's who the Packers fans should be focused on.
Seahawks, Vikings have the inside edge
A look at the two biggest threats to Green Bay's playoff candidacy. Again, Green Bay can finish behind one of these teams, but not both.
Green Bay (5-7-1): at Chicago (9-4), at New York Jets (4-9), vs. Detroit (5-8)
The Packers must win all three games for anything below to matter (duh).
Minnesota (6-6-1): vs. Miami (7-6), at Detroit (5-8), vs. Chicago (9-4)
If Packers win out, Minnesota must lose two of its final three (or Seattle needs to lose all three)
Seattle (8-5): at San Francisco (3-10), vs. Kansas City (11-2), at Arizona (3-10)
If Packers win out, Seattle must lose its final three (or Minnesota needs to lose two of three)
The other three teams Green Bay needs to worry about
Let's say Minnesota or Seattle does collapse and opens a door for someone else. Green Bay also needs these teams to lose at least once more:
Carolina (6-7): vs. Saints (11-2), vs. Falcons (4-9), at Saints (11-2)
Philadelphia (6-7): at LA Rams (11-2), vs. Houston (9-4), at Washington (6-7)
Washington (6-7): at Jacksonville (4-9), at Tennessee (7-6), vs. Philadelphia (6-7)
Those are three tough schedules, and obviously either Washington or Philadelphia will take a loss in Week 17. It would certainly be a tough pill to swallow if Minnesota or Seattle collapsed, Green Bay won out, and one of these three teams went undefeated to snatch up the final playoff spot. Sunday was a huge day for the Packers on this front, with all three of those teams taking losses (not to mention Tampa Bay, which was previously ahead of the Packers, as well).
You probably knew this already, but the Packers cannot catch Chicago (9-4) and thus have been eliminated from the NFC North title chase.