The Green Bay Packers have made things pretty easy on themselves heading into the final week of the 2019 NFL regular season — and then delivered in crunch time.
The Packers (13-3) completed a 14-point comeback in the second half against the Detroit Lions (3-12-1) on Sunday afternoon to win 23-20 and clinch a first-round bye in their first trip to the postseason since 2016. The Packers were then confirmed later Sunday night as the No. 2 seed after San Francisco won 26-21 over Seattle to seize the top seed in the conference.
Here’s a breakdown of the Packers’ playoff standing after their win over the Lions as well as a complete look at the NFC playoff picture after Week 17’s final games.
*Note: All data and percentages included here are courtesy of Playoff Status.
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Updated Final Look at the NFC Playoff Picture
The winners and losers have spoken and everything is now set in stone.
The San Francisco 49ers (13-3) clinched the No. 1 seed with a victory Sunday night over Seattle and joined the Packers as the other NFC team with a week to rest up before their first game.
The remaining four contenders will square off in a pair of wild-card games that have been announced off next Sunday, beginning with the New Orleans Saints (13-3) hosting the Minnesota Vikings (10-6) at 1:05 p.m. ET. and followed by the Seahawks (11-5) going on the road to face the NFC East champion Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) at 4:40 p.m. ET.
There were some shifting scenarios coming into Week 17’s games with two NFC division titles still up for grabs, but the two in charge at the beginning of the day — the Eagles and 49ers — walked away with the title secured on Sunday. The Dallas Cowboys briefly flirted with the idea of replacing the Eagles as the No. 4 seed with a blowout victory of the Washington Redskins, but Philly’s win made it impossible for them to recover any ground.
The Packers and Saints also won early enough Sunday to ensure the Seahawks could not claim a first-round bye no matter how things had turned out against the 49ers. New Orleans held a head-to-head tiebreaker, while Green Bay simply boasted a better record. So really, Seattle only changed opponents and venue with their loss Sunday night. The alternative would have been a first-round game against the Vikings on their home turf.
What Playoff Scenarios Remain for the Packers?
The Packers have broken records with unprecedented success under a first-year head coach, and now they can a first-round bye to Matt LaFleur’s impressive and growing resume.
There are still a handful of scenarios for who the Packers could play in their first game during the second round of the playoffs, depending on how the wild-card results shake out. Here’s a closer look at each of the possible opponents.
New Orleans Saints: Despite having a talented running back, the Saints have been missing a step in the run game this season. That’s good for a Packers defense that has missed more than a few in stopping the rush throughout 2019. Far better for them to be able to focus their attention on the passer, who just so happens to be a Super Bowl champion and future Hall of Famer.
Seattle Seahawks: Marshawn Lynch’s return wasn’t able to conjure enough energy for Seattle to rally against their conference rival, even though a delay-of-game penalty effectively killed his shot at becoming a two-touchdown hero Sunday night. Still, the Packers could face some trouble with an MVP-caliber Russell Wilson good on his feet and a pair of quality rushers, including Robert Turbin.
Minnesota Vikings: The foe you know. The Packers have taken out the Vikings twice this season, but any coach will tell you it is difficult to beat a team three times. Lead rusher Dalvin Cook ran wild in their first game of the season at Lambeau Field and sat out their rematch in Minnesota. His return could cause problems again, but only if the Vikings can get past the Saints in the first round.