GREEN BAY – Now that the Packers are in the playoffs, what’s left to determine is their seed in the NFC field.
Heading into the Week 16 showdown between the Packers (10-4) and Cardinals (12-2), there are four possible playoff seeds for Green Bay:
- No. 2 – This would include a first-round bye, and the Packers can earn it by winning their last two games, and having Seattle beat Arizona in Week 17.
- No. 3 – This would be the Packers’ seed if they win the NFC North but don’t catch the Cardinals. Green Bay would then play a home game on the first weekend of the postseason. There are two scenarios by which the Packers can take the division: A win over Arizona and a Vikings loss to the Giants in Week 16, or a win over Minnesota in Week 17, regardless of Week 16’s results.
- No. 5 or 6 – The Packers would be a wild-card team if they don’t win the NFC North, and their seed would depend on their record compared to Seattle’s. The Seahawks are the other NFC wild-card team and would have to finish with a better record than the Packers to get the No. 5 seed, because if they’re tied, the Packers get the higher seed based on their head-to-head victory in Week 2.
Got all that? Good.
With that as background, the most important game in the picture other than Packers-Cardinals is New York (6-8) at Minnesota (9-5). It’s the night game on Sunday, so it’ll be played as the Packers are flying back from Arizona.
As mentioned, if the Packers beat the Cardinals, Green Bay would clinch the division if the Giants beat the Vikings, so be ready to pull for New York. If the Packers lose out west, they can’t get the No. 2 seed, and the Giants-Vikings game in turn has no bearing on the Packers’ playoff prospects because the NFC North title would be decided in Week 17.
That said, Saturday night’s Washington (7-7) at Philadelphia (6-8) game could play a role. In order to win the NFC East, the Giants need to win their final two games and have the Redskins lose their final two games. So, the Giants would be eliminated from playoff contention before they even play the Vikings if Washington wins on Saturday night.
Given that, root for the Eagles to beat the Redskins so the Giants are still playing for something on Sunday night.
Regarding the possible wild-card seeds should they eventually pertain to the Packers, the St. Louis (6-8) at Seattle (9-5) game has bearing. If the Packers lose their final two games, the Seahawks would take the No. 5 seed and drop the Packers to No. 6 by winning their final two, so cheer for a Rams upset. If that happens, the Packers can be no worse than the No. 5 seed.
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