Week 13 helped the Green Bay Packers inch a bit closer to a playoff berth. While Detroit remained hot, beating the New Orleans Saints, the Packers gained some ground on the Minnesota Vikings when they fell to the Dallas Cowboys. Meanwhile, the Packers beat the Houston Texans at home. At this point, the Packers control their destiny as far as Minnesota is concerned. They currently share a 6-6 record with the Vikings holding the tie-breaker, but the two teams will meet again in Week 16. Even if the Vikings win all other games, Green Bay can knock them off by continuing to win and beating the Vikings in their remaining match-up.
That’s not the case with the NFC North leading Detroit Lions, however. Statistically, the Packers do not absolutely need to run the table, but the chances of their making the playoffs decrease significantly if they do not do so. As things stand right now, the Packers will need to beat Detroit in Week 17 and will also need Detroit to lose one of their three other remaining games (Chicago, @New York Giants, and @Dallas). It seems likely that Detroit will not sweep away games against the Giants and the Cowboys, but it may be asking too much for them to lose both. It’s certainly very possible, but if you’re a Packer fan you don’t want to be counting on it.
Realistically, the Green Bay Packers’ only shot at a playoff spot this season depends upon their winning out the remainder of their schedule. With Detroit continuing to play at a high level, the Packers cannot really afford to lose another game this season, falling behind Detroit by three games (and Minnesota by 1), assuming that the Lions continue to win.
So the Packers need to continue the two-week winning streak. That won’t be easy this week as they face one of their toughest opponents of the season in the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks sit at around 4 or 5 depending upon which NFL Power Rankings you look at. They’re always a tough matchup for the Packers, with Pete Carroll owning a 3-1 record against McCarthy’s Packers.
However, Seattle is not unbeatable. The most notable Seahawks news is that safety Earl Thomas is lost for the season due to a broken leg suffered against Carolina last week Sunday. Thomas is arguably the most important player on the Seahawks team, and his loss will certainly change the dynamics of this Sunday’s showdown with the Packers. Seattle played without Earl Thomas two weeks ago in a game at Tampa Bay and the Seahawks lost 5-14. Seattle still has a bevvy of game-changing players but they’re a different team without Thomas.
The Packers’ map to a win over Seattle is roughly the same as Tampa Bay’s. Exploit a young and ever-shifting offensive line, putting Russell Wilson on the ropes. Tampa was able to sack Wilson 6 times and force 2 interceptions. Wilson will scramble for yardage, but he will also make mistakes if he’s heavily pressured. The Seahawks’ defense remains very good, but if McCarthy continues moving the ball around to different targets on short, quick pass plays, you have to like Aaron Rodgers’ chances to out-gun Wilson.
Below I’ve listed a viewing guide to this Sunday’s games.
While the Packers’ playoff hopes don’t completely rest on this upcoming game, a reasonable chance of making the playoffs does. This is a must-win.
Seattle at Green Bay
While both seem unlikely, a Minnesota or Detroit loss this weekend would certainly help. If Chicago could pull out a win against Detroit, it would provide the Packers some breathing room for a possible loss against Seattle since New York and Dallas still remain on the Detroit schedule. I know that it feels weird, but get out your Bears blue and orange for the early game this Sunday.
Minnesota at Jacksonville
Possibly Helpful Outcomes:
Although it would take a highly unlikely, very specific set of circumstances for the Packers to make the playoffs as a wildcard team, it is still technically possible. One scenario even has the Packers making it as an 8-8 team. While it’s hard to currently predict exactly what most benefits the Packers in regard to grabbing a wildcard spot, it would appear right now that Tampa Bay and Washington are Green Bay’s biggest obstacles.
Washington at Philadelphia
New Orleans at
Taylor O\'Neill is a Packer fan born and raised in Oshkosh, WI. He currently lives in Florida and is pursuing his PhD. Taylor is a writer with PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TaylorONeill87 for more Packer news.