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Around the NFC North - Week 15: Migraine Playoff Edition

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Around the NFC North - Week 15: Migraine Playoff Edition

The Green Bay Packers still have a shot at the playoffs, but if they can't sweep their last two games*, their fate rests in the hands of a lot of other teams. We’ll focus on the NFC North ones, as that’s what we do here, but we’d be remiss in talking a little about the other teams which could muddle things up and keep the Packers out.

Long story, short—Green Bay has to win both of its games. Just one loss to either the Lions or Vikings could* end their playoff hopes.

Now, can the Packers win just one of the two games remaining and make the playoffs? Only if it’s the right one. The Packers can ‘afford’ to lose to Minnesota this weekend if they then beat the Lions in Week 17. If that happens, the Packers win the NFC North and will end up with the fourth seed.

That’s the only sure way the Packers make the playoffs. Now comes the migraine.

Minnesota can make the playoffs if they win their next two games and Detroit beats the Packers in Week 17, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at New Orleans, vs. Carolina) and Green Bay Packers lose their last two games. Unlikely, but not outside the realm of possibility if the team which shows up to both games is not the one who just got curb stomped by the Colts.

It’s going to be hard for the Vikings to win at Lambeau though and I wouldn’t bet my house on it.

That scenario is one of several which would knock the Packers out of the playoffs.  If the Packers split their last two games—lose to Detroit, beat the Vikings for example—then they have to hope the Bucs lose one of their two games. They can also be knocked out of Washington wins both of their last two games and the Packers lose one of theirs.

Interestingly, Washington can instead knock the Lions out by winning both of their games, but if they lose one of the two it will be the Buccaneers which will take the last seed as long as they win one of their two remaining games.

Detroit stays in the playoffs by either 1) winning both of their games or 2) winning one of their games and if that game is against Green Bay, then they win the division.

Again, though, the Packers have their fate in their own hands. If they take care of business over the next two games, then the rest of this is all academic.

If you want to see all the scenarios—and play with some others—you can check out the Playoff Machine at ESPN.


*as pointed out by dobber (who I keep reading as Donner, because:Christmas), a loss to either the Vikings or Lions COULD end their playoff hopes not will. And their fate rests in the hands of other teams if they lose one of their two games, notably the Lions one. Hence the adjustments.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (31) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Spud Rapids's picture

" The Packers can ‘afford’ to lose to Minnesota this weekend if they then beat the Lions in Week 17. If that happens, the Packers win the NFC North and will end up with the fourth seed."

Correct me if I'm wrong but this scenario only happens if Detroit loses to Dallas this week.

dobber's picture

That is correct.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

And Likely...

dobber's picture

"The Green Bay Packers still have a shot at the playoffs, but now their fate rests in the hands of a lot of other teams."

They control their own fate in the most direct way: if they win their last two, they win the division and they're in as (likely) the #4.

"Long story, short—Green Bay has to win both of its games. Just one loss to either the Lions or Vikings will end their playoff hopes"

Not true, as you go on to say. Packers lose to the Vikes, yes, that's the one they can drop and still have a shot. If they lose to the Vikes and beat the Lions, Vikings beat the Bears, Lions lose to the Doughboys--this creates a 9-7 logjam at the top of the NFC Norris that the Packers win based on best divisional record.

Vikings are scuffling. The heart of their defense is out (Harrison Smith) and they're losing regulars off their DL on a regular basis. They've only won 2 games since their hot start and those were wins over the surprisingly impotent Cardinals and the hapless Jags (both games they nearly lost). The Vikes just are not a very good football team.

andrewgarda's picture

Should have said "could" not "will" - other than that, yes the Packers do hold their own destiny if they win.

Otherwise they need help.

sonomaca's picture

Here's a calculated gamble: the Packers rest all their injured players, including Rodgers. this week. If they do that, they come back much healthier and more well-prepared for Detroit.

Of course, Detroit would have to cooperate and lose at Dallas, or the Packers with Hundley would have to beat the Vikes. Both of those scenarios are fairly likely.

I think it's worth the risk, since the Packers probably wouldn't get too far in the playoffs with a hobbled Rodgers, anyway.

dobber's picture

All told, for a guy who has a bad hammy and a bad calf, I thought ARod didn't look too bad in the cold last week. Maybe he's not as hurt as we'd been led to believe...

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

I would love for Dallas to win, we win were in and my other son in law can be happy Dallas won.

Samson's picture

The Vikings are a mess.
The Lions aren't close to being a 9-5 team.
The Pack are probably the best of the North but a one and done scenario in the play offs seems likely.

TT needs to find a few more impact players for 2017. To be (basically) the North Division Champ only because no one else is worthy is unacceptable. -- GB needs to become elite again.

Bearmeat's picture

To be fair, things on offense seem to have worked themselves out fairly nicely. I'm excited to see what kind of improvement Davis makes in the offesason. A speed threat on the outside would really help.

I'd like to see Cook back on another 1 year deal. Same with Lacy - if the numbers are right. Ty makes a HUGE difference. It'll be interesting to see what TT does with Linsley/Tretter/Lang/Spriggs in the offseason. Cobb needs to take a LARGE pay cut.

And let's call TT's gamble at punter a modest success. Schum isn't Andy Lee, but he's not been the shankopottomus that The Ginger Wolverine had been for the last 2 years either.

Now on defense? Yeah. Help at OLB, CB and even some reinforcement on the DL is needed. CM3 is no longer an impact player. He needs to take a massive pay cut. I don't know if I want Perry back. He's ALWAYS hurt. Datone? Buh-bye. Hyde? Dunno... bad in coverage, but he might be cheap and is useful as a utility DB.

dobber's picture

I'll have to catalog "shankopottomus" for future use...with appropriate citation, of course.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Bearmeat: If you think CM3 is no longer an impact OLB, Peppers is gone, and you don't want Perry back, that leaves Elliot, Fackrell, and Jones if you want him back. Not an enticing situation. We probably have to re-sign Perry. Only FAs out there are Chandler Jones and Ingram, and no way to know if they will get tagged (doubt it since the tag too high). Indeed, Perry might be the best FA OLB out there!

Portland Mark's picture

Hopefully the Cardinals and 49ers will play with fire in their hearts the next two games and beat the Seahawks while the Packers win both of their games and claim the number two seed,

Bert's picture

There's not enough fire in all of the 49ers hearts combined to light a fart let alone beat Seattle.

Since '61's picture

Andy - as unlikely as is it to happen there is a scenario where the Packers could still capture the #2 seed and a bye. For that to happen the Packers need to win both of their remaining games and go 10-6 and win the NFC North. Plus both the Falcons and the Seachickens would need to lose both of their remaining games resulting in a 9-7 for the Falcons and a 9-6-1 record for Seattle. Of course this is a highly unlikely scenario and I'm not expecting it to happen but you never know. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

bears suck forever's picture

So this is why my head hurts.

jh9's picture

For what it's worth, these are my feelings on the Packers and the playoffs:
The Packers play in a mediocre division.
They have, arguably, the best quarterback in the NFL.
They SHOULD make the playoffs every year.

To me, just because the Packers played some awful football during the middle of the season this year, making the playoffs is not something to celebrate. They've been in the playoffs every year since 2009. Although not making the playoffs would be a huge fail, for me, I will not be a happy fan if they get knocked out again by any team before they reach the Super Bowl.

My hope, right now, is the same hope I had for the Packers at the beginning of the season--MAKE IT TO THE SUPER BOWL. I don't know about anyone else, but I want to see some progress. I'm tired of seeing the Packers run in place year after year.

Nick Perry's picture

The Packers just need to WIN. If the defense can get a few players back along the way, play Top 15 Defense, this is a team that can play with anyone.

Off Topic... What happens when Martinez is playing more regular snaps again. Burnett at ILB and matching up on TE's on 3rd down has been REALLY effective. I'd like to see him on Rudolph this week against the Vikings and Ebron against Detroit. I really like Blake and think he'll be a excellent ILB, but I like Burnett covering those TE's better, at least for the rest of this season..

RCPackerFan's picture

Maybe Martinez to more base defense, and Burnett and Thomas more in Nickel?

I agree thought I like Burnett as an ILB. He has been really good playing in the box.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

To me Burnett to ILB has as much to do with how Brice plays as with how Burnett looks at ILB.

bears suck forever's picture

I live 45 minute drive from Orlando on the east coast. The entire state of Wisconsin is welcome to stay in the spare bedroom for free for the pro bowl. Just bring 1 bottle of Wisco Disco as a donation to the needy.

Handsback's picture

One game that Green Bay needs to win is against the Vikings. Can't look at all of the other match-ups only the Vikings. The minute you take your eye off the shank it. Getting back your swing is harder than keeping it going. That's why they have to keep winning.

mrtundra's picture

The only game we should be talking about is the vikings game. Concentrate on winning that and the other stuff will take care of itself. We have no control over anything other than how we play against the vikings this week. After this weekend, we will know where we stand in our division. We must keep winning to keep advancing..

dobber's picture

They've essentially been playing playoff games for the last 3 weeks. That's gotta help...

egbertsouse's picture

This season will go just as I predicted in Oct. The Packers will somehow get to the playoffs, go one and done. Everybody at 1265 Lombardi Ave. will pat themselves on the back and rejoice at the enormous profits. TT and Mikey will get big bonuses. Next year TT will whiff on high draft picks and sign 11 UFDAs at bargain bin prices. Lang and a couple others will leave and TT will sign some over the hill reject that doesn't cost him a conditional pick. Mikey will do dumb challenges and go for it on 4th and 2 and run a sweep that loses 3 yes. Capers will still be unable to create a defense that can stop a 15 yd pass over the middle. Aaah, I love tradition.

bears suck forever's picture

Your crystal ball is made of mirrors. What comes around goes around.

Man that was cheesy.


Samson's picture

Many PackFans have the same maddening irritations with the way this team continues to plod, year after year. -- My biggest fear is TT/MM will keep AR out of another SB -- OR ---- AR will see the SB again --- only with another team.

Nick Perry's picture

I'm hoping you're wrong but with the way a 3rd string QB tore apart the Packers secondary I have to wonder what happens when the level of competition picks up. I NEVER want the Packers to lose, never. But you've hit it squarely on the head when describing what will happen at 1265 Lombardi Ave and most importantly EXACTLY what happens with TT and MM should they go one and done.


LayingTheLawe's picture

Green Bay can clinch a wild card this week if they win and Tampa and Washington both lose. To get to a three seed they need to win out and Atlanta has to lose out. To get all the way to a two seed and a bye they need to win out and both Seattle and Atlanta have to lose out.

As most likely a 4 seed they would play a home playoff game against the 5 seed which is most likely the Giants.

Norm's picture

Well, no way they'd ever lose a home playoff game to the Giants so yea #4 seed!

PackDan87's picture

You mean the "migraine machine "..... "If you want to see all the scenarios—and play with some others—you can check out the Playoff Machine at ESPN."

Just win baby.

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