The Green Bay Packers walked into Levi’s Stadium on Sunday night looking to make a statement to the rest of the NFL, but San Francisco 49ers were the ones with something to say as they showed the Packers the door in their 37-8 win.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was held to just 104 passing yards in his team’s third loss of the season, while the defense gave up a whopping 23 points in the first half. An injury to a veteran offensive lineman also hurt the protection as Rodgers was sacked five times in the loss.
The NFL playoff picture was destined to change, or at least become clearer, regardless of the outcome of the Sunday Night Football matchup between the former top two seeds in the tightly-contested NFC. The 49ers (10-1) tightened their grip on the top spot while the challenger Packers (8-3) slipped behind in the postseason race.
While there are still playoff implications left in Week 12 with the Baltimore Ravens (8-2) and Los Angeles Rams (6-4) set to meet for Monday Night Football, let’s take a closer look at the NFL playoff picture and where the Packers stand through Sunday night.
Follow the Heavy on Packers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Shot at Home-Field Advantage Slips for Packers
Beating the best team in the NFC would have done wonders for the Packers in their pursuit of home-field advantage in the playoffs, but their devastating road loss puts in danger their chances of reaching the postseason at all if they can’t recover quickly.
Wins for both the New Orleans Saints (9-2) and Seattle Seahawks (9-2) on Sunday shook up the picture for the NFC’s seeding. The Saints are now the No. 2 team with an upcoming matchup with the top-seeded 49ers and head-to-head advantage over Seattle after handing the Seahawks one of their two losses this season.
The Packers fall to the No. 3 seed and remain ahead of the fourth-seeded Seahawks, who sit second in the NFC West after the 49ers’ win Sunday night, but Green Bay is no longer in sole possession of the NFC North with Minnesota boasting an identical record.
Vikings Become Packers’ Next Big Challenge
The Vikings (8-3) lost to the Packers at Lambeau Field in the second game of the season, but they have surged to win six of their last seven games and will undoubtedly be coming for the Packers when they meet Week 16 for Monday Night Football.
If the season were to end today, the Vikings and Packers would meet in one of the NFC wild-card games with Minnesota proving to be one of the best in the hunt for a spot in the postseason. That scenario, regardless of which team takes the division, seems the most likely to play out with five games remaining in the regular season.
First, though, the Vikings must prevail during next week’s Monday night game against the Seahawks, but a difficult road game against the Los Angeles Chargers still remains along with three home games against each of their NFC North rivals.
The Packers have a bit softer of a road with upcoming games at the New York Giants and against the Washington Redskins at home, but it gets progressively tougher from there with a home matchup against the Chicago Bears and back-to-back road games at Minnesota and Detroit to close out the season.