GREEN BAY – We’re back.
Our late-season look at the current week’s games and how they relate to the Packers’ playoff scenarios, which we affectionately call “Path to the Playoffs,” has returned once again.
For the most part, we try to keep it simple, which means advising Packers fans on which teams to root for to help Green Bay’s playoff chances. So here goes for Week 15.
By now, it’s been made clear how the Packers, currently 7-6, can win the NFC North. The key is to get to the Week 17 visit to Detroit no worse than one game back of the 9-4 Lions.
To do that, the Packers must beat the Bears and Vikings the next two weeks while the Lions lose one game, to either the Giants or Cowboys.
So, the biggest of the “other” games on this week’s schedule is Detroit’s trip to New York, and Green Bay fans should root for the Giants to beat the Lions.
Everything else at this point relates to the Packers’ hopes of snagging an NFC Wild Card spot should they not be able to win the division.
In that respect, the most important teams to pay attention to are the Buccaneers (8-5), Falcons (8-5), and Redskins (7-5-1).
The Giants are also in the wild-card mix, so if Detroit were to beat New York, it might help Green Bay’s wild-card chances, but the division title needs to be the primary goal as long as it’s still attainable.
The rest is rather straightforward. Tampa Bay plays at Dallas, so as painful as it might feel, cheer for the Cowboys to beat the Bucs. It’ll be a good warm-up for next week when Dallas hosts Detroit.
Also, pull for San Francisco to score an upset at Atlanta, and root for Carolina to triumph in Washington on Monday night.
Regarding the Vikings (7-6), Green Bay almost certainly needs a win over Minnesota next week to stay in the playoff hunt and move ahead of the Vikings position-wise anyway, so what the Vikings do this week isn’t as critical as it relates to the Packers.
But just in case some crazy things happen over the next few weeks, it wouldn’t hurt for the Vikings to take another loss, so cheer for Indianapolis to win on the road at Minnesota.