Packers Will Need a Little Help From Their Friends in Hopes of Playoff Push

The Green Bay Packers won their sixth game of the season Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, their former NFC Central rival. In the process, they were able to keep themselves very much alive in the NFC playoff race.

On top of the Packers needing to win their final five games of the season -- or, run the table -- and needing to tally two of those wins with Brett Hundley as the starting quarterback, they need some of the dominoes to fall their way with other teams in the process.

While the Packers were in the midst of their second overtime win of the season, the Atlanta Falcons (7-5) fell to the Minnesota Vikings (10-2) and the Detroit Lions (6-6) fell to the Baltimore Ravens (7-5), not that the AFC opponent matters in this context.

The only blemish on the Packers' nearly perfect Sunday carousel was the Philadelphia Eagles (10-2) not being able to finish the job in Seattle and beat the Seahawks (8-4), a team who the Packers own a tiebreaker over after their season-opening win back in September.

The Packers got back to .500 (6-6) with their sixth win of the season on Sunday over the Buccaneers, helping keep their playoff aspirations afloat. (Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports)

At this rate, a 10-6 record -- depending on whether or not the Packers can emerge victorious in their final four games -- has a high chance of securing one of the wildcard spots. They'll still need a little more help along the way.

At the moment, the two wildcard berths are occupied by the Panthers and Seahawks, both with four losses on their schedule. The Packers would need the Panthers to lose at least one game, coupled with a potential week 15 loss when the Packers travel to Carolina. That would give the Panthers with six losses on the season and the wrong side of the tiebreaker with Green Bay.

The Panthers host the Vikings next, and while a division title is all but out of reach for the Packers, you'll want to be rooting for the team in purple on Thursday night.

The Seahawks, meanwhile, travel to Jacksonville for the first time since 2005 for a rare meeting with the Jaguars (8-4). The Jaguars sport one of the top defenses in football and certainly will be no slouch against the Seahawks, fresh off their Sunday night win over the potential No. 1-seeded Eagles.

The Packers would also benefit from a New Orleans Saints (9-3) win on Thursday night against the Falcons.

On top of the multitude of possibilities, the Packers just have to focus on winning the remainder of their games, which is far from guaranteed in itself.

They'll travel to Cleveland this week in hopes of conquering the winless Browns (0-12). It may be the last start of the season for Hundley and the last chance for him to showcase his abilities and show that he has a full grasping of his talents. Aaron Rodgers is expected to return the following week in Carolina.

Rodgers will have a scan on his broken right clavicle after the game against the Browns to determine where his healing is, and if all goes well, he'll practice with the first-team offense that same week. The Packers' current plan is to have Rodgers run the scout team offense this week while the team prepares for the Browns.

It would be nice to say that the Packers control their own destiny, however, that's far from the case. They'll just need a little help from their friends.

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (22)

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The TKstinator's picture

December 04, 2017 at 12:21 pm

And “their friends” includes their own offense, defense, and special teams.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 04, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Do you all really think that making the playoffs is in the best long-term interest of this franchise? The defense will surrender 500 yards to a wet noodle at its current pace. Facing a top QB far from scares me - it makes me laugh - because I know we'll get wrecked.

No. Even with ARod, a Super Bowl is almost as unlikely as me winning next year's CrossFit games.

I'm seriously torn. On one hand, if you're in the dance, you've got a chance... and they'd set an NFL record for most consecutive playoff appearances I think... on the other... If they make the playoffs, Dom will not be fired. I want Ted and Dom gone for sure and I'm very much on the fence about Mike.

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Spud Rapids's picture

December 04, 2017 at 12:51 pm

So can you do me a favor? I am going to troll anyone calling for coaches to get fired to suggest a viable alternative... I think that is fair. I'm on board with Dom Capers being let go but I am 100% fine with Ted and MM. I will start I think they should go get the cornerback coach from the Patriots, Josh Boyer. Year after year their corners play exceptionally well despite some carouseling so he should be given a shot at D coordinator.

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pacman's picture

December 04, 2017 at 01:37 pm

The only hope for the SB is that AR coming back motivates everybody and they play beyond their normal selves.

I'm not on the fence about MM. That's the blessing in disguise with AR's injury. It showed how bad he has let the team get. That being said, fans just don't know the real inner workings. But the shine and pride of the old trophies are fading quickly in GB.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 04, 2017 at 03:26 pm

For sure.

What to do? I just don't know. Ugh. Why can't Dom Capers and Ted Thompson just be good? lol

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Ferrari Driveer's picture

December 04, 2017 at 03:41 pm

McCarthy is the coach, the GM is the final say on players.

Drafting at the bottom third of each round because of the Packers long term success is the tool designed by the NFL to have the better players in the draft go to the weaker teams. We have been fortunate to have two HOF quarterbacks for the last 20 years filling the single most important position on the team.

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jlc1's picture

December 04, 2017 at 02:02 pm

A Different Question of the Day -
What is more likely, GB losing to Cleveland or GB making the playoffs? The second is going to ultimately be tied to the first but just right now what do any of you think?

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JerseyAl's picture

December 04, 2017 at 02:19 pm

Not really an even question. Losing to Cleveland is much more possible because it's just a single improbable event. Winning the Super Bowl would require a series of improbable events. Odds are much better in the first case, regardless of the stature of either team.

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holmesmd's picture

December 04, 2017 at 02:29 pm

Al,
Point taken but the question was “making the playoffs”, not “winning the SB”. Your logic still applies to a lesser extent though. Playoff births are predicated on an entire season and other variables that can’t be controlled. A single win or loss is predicated on a lot fewer variables. Great job with the site & Happy Holidays to you!

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JerseyAl's picture

December 04, 2017 at 02:32 pm

you are right, but my point really was that it was an uneven question and one that naturally leads you to the less desirable answer.

thanks for reading and Best Holiday Wishes to you!

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stevehj's picture

December 04, 2017 at 03:05 pm

A little off topic, but even in this discussion like many others, there is a lot of negative sentiment regarding Dom and TT. Seems like we need to look at things a bit more in depth.

Personally, I don't really have a problem with TT considering the position we have in the draft almost every year. But, I struggle with the notion that the defense can't improve because we aren't able to draft good enough players. New England seems to manage it. How? It would be nice to have a civil discussion as to why our defense does not improve year to year? Is it really the lack of playmakers? Or if Capers is the problem, why is that? You might consider that as one of your questions of the week or for an depth story that provides facts vs opinions. Just a thought.....

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GVPacker's picture

December 04, 2017 at 06:02 pm

It amazes me how Belichick and his coaching staff are able to take players from the draft and other teams year after year and plug them into his system and get them to perform at the highest levels. Of course having the greatest QB in NFL history helps!

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croatpackfan's picture

December 05, 2017 at 06:30 am

Do anyone consider that in Patriots case, Brady accepted significant paycut and eat a substantial less money from salary cap than others QB in the league?

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HankScorpio's picture

December 05, 2017 at 06:51 am

I do. Brady has been playing for about half price of a marquee QB. He's never taken a pay cut per se. It was more agreeing to a substantially discounted rate. Basically, it is the cap room to fit in the Nelson or Cobb contracts. Or the contract Adams will probably be expecting. At least up until this year. For 2018 & 2019, the discount he gives the Patriots is far less substantial.

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croatpackfan's picture

December 05, 2017 at 11:31 am

Sorry, I had impression that he accepted pay cut, but anyhow, his salary influence on patriots salary cap almost is not important...

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Ferrari Driveer's picture

December 04, 2017 at 03:34 pm

Showcase his talents?

He just got done playing the worst pass defense in the NFL and couldn't even throw for 90 yards and no touchdowns.

The guy is destined for the streets and the Packers hopes of getting any draft choice for him is pie in the sky.

Hard to watch Hundley play the game after having Favre and especially Rodgers for two decades.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 04, 2017 at 07:17 pm

Hilarious

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Bure9620's picture

December 04, 2017 at 04:29 pm

I'm not going to trash Hundley as some are, as I like him as a person. He's seems like a really good guy, has a foundation for epilepsy and he seems like he is genuinely interested in using his platform to help make people's lives better. For that, I Iike him.

That being said, he is is clearly not an NFL QB. He is doing his best but is that really Hundley's fault he is the QB now and he's terrible? Our perssonel department made a mistake on him, weather that be TT or Wolf, they chose Hundley and traded up for him in the 5th. Direct your blame there. They also failed to find a veteran FA backup last year and this offseason or this year when they knew ( or worse didn't know) he could not play. They just believe a little too strongly in their picks at times, and refuse to admit a mistake. They failed him, the team and McMarthy. Not that MM has done an outstanding job but this seasons failures are more on TT than MM imo.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 04, 2017 at 07:16 pm

True..so true .

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Qoojo's picture

December 04, 2017 at 04:38 pm

I went to the espn stat site, and the packers' team defense is ranked 24th in total yards, 26th in pass yards, 14th in rush yards, and 17th in points. Which basically reflects what we have been watching, the packers can't get off the field, and are pretty easy to pass against.

I just can't see making the playoffs making any difference. I'd rather have the higher draft pick and capers gone. We shall see just how competitive the defense is in a couple weeks when they play the panthers with their playoff hopes on the line.

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GVPacker's picture

December 04, 2017 at 06:11 pm

I smell what you're cooking but the mindset of most teams is to "Qualify For The Tournament And See What Happens" maybe the Packers defense has an epiphany and plays lights out in December and Aaron Rodgers returns for the Carolina game, yada yada Super Bowl ! I know but some of us still like to dream!

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croatpackfan's picture

December 05, 2017 at 06:51 am

No one here in defend of Brett Hundley (I remember we were talking about 2nd or 3rd round pick for him, 6 weeks ago. Do you all remember that?)...

No one taking in consideration that Brett Hundley actually improving his game from week to week. Which is normal, as we all know that the speed of the preaseason games are nothing near the speed of the real game (many of you are using that argument to explain how experienced players do not need to play preseason because of that speed!).

Also, the worst Hundley's performances came on Lambeau field, better ones on side. And his improvement from Chicago to Pittsburgh was huge. Do you really think that pressure to win at home does not produce lot of head problems with young QB? Also, I bought what Mike McCarthy said, that it is the hardest to get first win. First win at Soldier field and we saw different guy (improved one) in Pittsburgh. Maybe, if he will play next game in Green Bay, we would see that improved Hundley at Lambeau, too.

To support this speculation we should watch next game in Cleveland closely. If Brett show his Pittsburgh outing, that speculation has to be truth...

I do not think that Brett Hundley is starting QB for NFL. He might be at the level of Josh McCoven (at the best), very serviceable back up. And my opinion is based on his problems with his head, not with his athletic abilities...

This is my opinion on Brett HUndley.

Shame on you who are spitting on him, it's not his fault that you overestimated him and that's why he disappointed you ...

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