Sitting at 4-4, many Packer fans have been calling for the head of Mike McCarthy and packing up their hopes for a Green Bay playoff run. While frustrations are justifiably high after a sub-par first half of the 2016 season, the truth is that the Packers’ playoff hopes are far from extinguished. Sitting just a game and a half back of the Minnesota Vikings with eight games to go, the season is far from over.
Still, the Packers are now on the outside looking in. After the Packers’ embarrassing loss to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday, Green Bay would find themselves out of the playoffs if the season ended today, snapping a 7 year streak of reaching the postseason.
The Packers will now be contending with a number of teams for a possible wildcard spot including Washington, Seattle, Detroit, New York, New Orleans, and Philadelphia, all of which are either currently ahead of the Packers in the playoff hunt or who share their 4-4 record. While the Packers are not out of play for the division title, they’re now situated behind both Minnesota and Detroit, needing to climb past two tough division opponents in order to snatch the NFC North.
It’s certainly not impossible, especially for Aaron Rodgers and Co., but the odds are getting longer with each loss. In 2010, the Packers found themselves in a similar spot. Sitting at 3-3 after a tough overtime loss at home against the 2-2 Miami Dolphins, the Packers pulled themselves up by their boot straps, winning five of their next six games. That team squeaked into the playoffs and the rest is history.
With a tough three game road trip coming up, the question remains as to whether this 2016 group can also rattle off a series of wins to put themselves back into serious playoff contention. The season is not yet over, but if the Packers can’t leave Tennessee with a victory this Sunday, it might be time to pack it up. With two consecutive losses to middling AFC South opponents, the Packers would be sitting at 4-5, facing playoff contending Washington and Philadelphia on the road before even getting back to Lambeau. Any postseason hopes at that point would be on life support.
For that reason, the Packers have their backs against the wall. They must win and preferably win big, overcoming their sputtering pace and giving themselves momentum for an arduous second half of the season. With a lot of kinks yet to be worked out on offense and in the defensive secondary, the Packers have to come into Nissan Stadium with the energy of a team fighting for its life. For better or worse, Sunday may foreshadow what the rest of the season has in store for Green Bay.——————
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.