Remarkably, considering they had a win stolen from them at Seattle and they gave away a win at Indianapolis, the Green Bay Packers have a shot at claiming a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs.
The Packers enter this week’s slate just one-half game behind San Francisco for the No. 2 seed. The 49ers’ loss at St. Louis and the Giants’ loss at Washington opened the door for Green Bay to get a bye.
The schedule further opens the door for the Packers, though the Dec. 16 game at Chicago, which likely to decide the NFC North crown, will be a major challenge.
The Packers conclude with games against Detroit (4-8), at Chicago (8-4), Tennessee (4-8) and at Minnesota (6-6). That’s a cumulative record of 22-26.
If Green Bay runs the table, the 49ers would have to stumble once for the Packers to jump them in the standings. The schedule sets up that possibility. Home games against Miami (5-7) on Sunday and Arizona (4-8) in the finale sandwich two major challenges on the road with New England (9-3) and Seattle (7-5). The Seahawks are 5-0 at home and the Patriots are 4-1 at home. The four teams’ cumulative record is 25-23.
The Bears, after losing at home this past Sunday to Seattle, finish at Minnesota (6-6), home against Green Bay (8-4) and at Arizona (4-8) and Detroit (4-8). That’s a cumulative record of 22-26.
If the season were to end today, Green Bay would be the No. 3 seed and get a rematch with Seattle in the wild-card round, with the game at Lambeau Field.
1. Atlanta — 11-1 (No. 1 NFC South).
2. San Francisco — 8-3-1 (No. 1 NFC West).
3. Green Bay — 8-4 (No. 1 NFC North)
4. N.Y. Giants — 7-5 (No. 1 NFC East)
5. Chicago — 8-4 (No. 2 NFC North)
6. Seattle — 7-5 (No. 2 NFC West)
7. Washington — 6-6 (No. 2 NFC East)
8. Dallas — 6-6 (No. 3 NFC East)
9. Tampa Bay — 6-6 (No. 2 NFC South)
10. Minnesota — 6-6 (No. 3 NFC North)
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.