The Green Bay Packers are going back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016 no matter what happens in their next two games, but there is still a path for them to emerge as the top team in the NFC after a crucial loss on Sunday.
The Packers (11-3) will continue to control the No. 2 seed if they win their remaining games against the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions, but they can also finish with the No. 1 seed if Seattle can win next Sunday night’s showdown with San Francisco.
After losing to the lowly Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, the Seahawks can still win the NFC West next week if they complete the season sweep of the 49ers, which would make them 12-4 and put them one game behind the Packers if they win out. The New Orleans Saints could win their season finale and tie the Packers at 13-3 in such a scenario, but they would lose the tiebreaker with three NFC losses on their ledger this season, allowing the No. 1 seed to fall to Green Bay.
Of course, it all starts Monday night with their prime-time showdown with the Vikings (10-5) as the Packers first look to wrap up the NFC North title with a victory over their second-place rival.
Follow the Heavy on Packers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
What Other Scenarios Are Left for Packers?
While the Saints won Sunday to temporarily move into the No. 2 seed, the Packers can just as easily take it back with a win Monday. Having some close competition, though, for the coveted first-round bye does set up some interesting options for the Packers in the playoffs.
The Packers are being given a 51 percent chance of securing a first-round bye with one of the top two seeds, according to Playoff Status, but the best they can do on their own is win out and secure the No. 2 seed without any favors being done for them in the NFC West matchup. In the event the Niners win the division, they would take the top seed at 13-3 and would potentially set up a rematch in the conference championship in the same venue where the Packers were thumped earlier this season.
If the Packers lose one of their final two games, they will still be NFC North champions, but they would be more suspectable to the Saints and 49ers/Seahawks and could be dropped as low as the No. 3 seed among division leaders. Regardless of which team wins the NFC East, the Philadelphia Eagles or Dallas Cowboys will be guaranteed the No. 4 seed with by far the worst record among division leaders. Right now, the odds favor the Packers getting the No. 3 seed more than any other seed with a 42 percent chance they’ll finish just short of the first-round bye.
If the Packers lose both of their final two games, they could still finish atop the division, but it falls more into the hands of the Vikings in that scenario. The Packer losing out and the Vikings winning out would cast Green Bay down into one of the two wild-card spots, which would then be determined by which team loses the NFC West.
There is only a 1 percent chance of it happening, but two Packers losses, two Vikings wins and the Seahawks winning the NFC West would see Green Bay miss out on the division title and get knocked down as far as the No. 6 seed behind the Niners as the other wild-card team.