Packers Playoff Picture Week 15: Updated Postseason Outlook After Win Over Bears

Packers Week 15 Playoff

Getty Aaron Rodgers #12 and Robert Tonyan #85 of the Green Bay Packers celebrate after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against the Washington Redskins at Lambeau Field on December 08, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

It’s official: The Green Bay Packers are heading back to the NFL playoffs.

The Packers (11-3) put themselves on the verge of clinching a spot in the postseason after too-close-for-comfort win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Lambeau Field, sealing the deal later in the day when the Dallas Cowboys prevailed 44-21 over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night. The Packers also still control the NFC’s No. 2 playoff seed and can ensure a first-round bye if they win their final two games.

The Packers’ victory also drove the Bears (7-7) to the brink of elimination, a fate that was later sealed when the Minnesota Vikings won 39-10 over the Los Angeles Chargers. It was a bit of a poetic scenario for the Packers, who had watched the Bears do the same thing to them during the 2018 season on their way to winning the NFC North title.

Here’s a breakdown of the current NFC playoff picture after Sunday’s slate of NFC games along with an updated look at Green Bay’s playoff scenarios after Week 15.

*Note: All data and percentages included here are courtesy of Playoff Status.

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Updated Look at the NFC Playoff Picture

Disclaimer: All projections will be updated live with relevant Week 15 final results

The San Francisco 49ers (11-3) could have clinched a playoff spot with losses by both the Vikings and Packers or a win of their own against the Atlanta Falcons, but they instead fell to the third option and were guaranteed a spot when the Rams lost.

The Niners began Sunday with a 55 percent chance of looking up the No. 1 seed, but a loss for them and a win for Seattle (11-3) over Carolina saw the Seahawks overtake both the No. 1 seed and NFC West division lead. The 30-24 victory over the Panthers also clinched a playoff spot for the Seahawks.

The New Orleans Saints (10-3) have already clinched one of the top four playoffs spots in the NFC after clinching the South with a Thanksgiving win over the Falcons, but a last-second loss to the Niners last week set them back and allowed the Packers to move into the No. 2 spot. Even a win-out scenario can’t help them alone recapture it, but winning is certainly part of the equation and must happen Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts to regain any ground.

The Philadelphia Eagles (7-7) are surprisingly still in contention after Sunday’s win over the Washington Redskins and could take sole control of the NFC East next week when they face off with the Cowboys (7-7), who already defeated them once this season. Whichever loses the division would be unable to secure a wild-card spot at this point, leaving it to a field of the Vikings (10-4), Rams (8-6) and either the Niners or Seahawks.

NFC Playoff Standings:

  1. 1: Seattle Seahawks (11-3) playoffs clinched
  2. 2: Green Bay Packers (11-3) playoffs clinched
  3. 3: New Orleans Saints (10-3) playoffs, division clinched
  4. 4: Dallas Cowboys (7-7)
  5. ————————————————————————————
  6. 5: San Francisco 49ers (11-3) playoffs clinched
  7. 6: Minnesota Vikings (10-4)
  8. ————————————————————————————
  9. 7: Los Angeles Rams (8-6)
  10. 8: Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)

What Playoff Scenarios Remain for the Packers?

The Packers have a simple path to both winning the division and seizing the coveted first-round bye: beat the Vikings and Detroit Lions. The odds look good with them now receiving a 92 percent chance to finish as either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed with the NFC North title in hand.

Next week’s road game against Vikings will be the most important in determining the Packers’ playoff fate, as Minnesota will be in a position to challenge for the division when they meet for Monday Night Football in Week 16. With their win over the Chargers on Sunday, the Vikings will also now have a victory over a similar opponent that defeated the Packers.

The Packers can clinch the NFC North with a win over the Vikings next week, as that would give them the season sweep.

There is still an extremely slim chance for the Packers to seize the top seed in the conference if they win out, but it would require Seattle (11-3) and San Francisco (11-3) to each lose one of their final two games and finish with 12-4 records.

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