GREEN BAY – It’s baaaaaaaaaack (along with you know who).
Yup, Path to the Playoffs has returned once again, thanks to the Packers getting above .500 at 7-6 with three games remaining.
Green Bay’s postseason hopes are very much alive, but not only do the Packers need to win out to get to 10-6, they’ll need a little help, and that’s what this is for – to explain which teams you need to root for this week to help the Packers’ cause.
So here goes:
Green Bay’s most unlikely path to the playoffs is to win the NFC North, which is still possible, but only if Minnesota (10-3) loses its remaining three games (one of which would be to the Packers next week).
If both the Packers and Vikings finish 10-6, the Packers would win the NFC North with a better division record, so just to keep that possibility afloat, cheer for Cincinnati to beat Minnesota.
More realistically, the Packers’ playoff hopes rest in the wild-card realm, and based on how the NFC standings currently read, Green Bay is fighting with Carolina, Atlanta and Seattle for two wild-card spots.
(The division races in the NFC South and NFC West could change over the next week or two, but for the sake of simplicity, we’ll break it down this way for now.)
Obviously, the Packers play the Panthers (9-4) this week, so the primary scoreboard watching involves the Rams-Seahawks game and the Buccaneers-Falcons Monday night game.
If Seattle (8-5) loses one more, a 10-6 Green Bay team would own a head-to-head tiebreaker based on the Packers’ Week 1 victory at Lambeau Field. So root for the Rams to knock off the Seahawks.
The Packers actually need Atlanta (8-5) to lose two more games, because the Falcons have the tiebreaker based on their Week 2 victory over Green Bay. So pull for Tampa Bay to hand Atlanta the first of those two needed defeats.
Now, some other more unlikely scenarios are still in play for the Packers, including the Saints losing their final three games to drop all the way to 9-7. They would have to fall that far to finish behind a potential 10-6 Green Bay team because New Orleans won at Lambeau in Week 7.
So just for good measure, cheer for the Jets to upset the Saints.
That pretty much covers it for Week 15. Let’s be forced to do this again next week, shall we?