Not only can the Packers clinch the NFC North championship by winning at the Chicago Bears on Sunday, they can move up to No. 2 in the NFC playoff race and be in line for a first-round bye and second-round home game if the San Francisco 49ers lose at New England.
Even if the Packers lose on Sunday, they control their destiny in the NFC North, with a division title meaning a first-round home game.
The Packers (9-4) have a one-game lead over the Bears (8-5) entering this week's showdown at Soldier Field. With a win, the Packers would wrap up the division because the best the Bears could do is tie the Packers at 10-6. With a series sweep, Green Bay would own the first tiebreaker.
With a Bears win, the teams would be tied at 9-5. The first tiebreaker, head-to-head, also would be tied. The second tiebreaker is division record. The Packers, who are 4-0 against the North, would fall to 4-1; the Bears, who are 2-2 against the North, would improve to 3-2.
In Week 17, Chicago plays at Detroit and Green Bay plays at Minnesota. If the Packers and Bears wind up tied for the NFC North title and tied with 4-2 records against the division, the fourth tiebreaker is common opponents. Here's how that shakes out:
— Head-to-head: Tied 1-1 for the purpose of this example.
— Indianapolis: GB loss; CHI win.
— St. Louis: GB win; CHI win.
— Jacksonville: GB win; CHI win.
— Detroit: GB win, win; CHI win, Week 17.
— Tennessee: GB Week 16; CHI win.
— Houston: GB win; CHI loss.
— San Francisco: GB loss; CHI loss.
— Minnesota: GB win, Week 17; CHI win, loss.
— Seattle: GB loss; CHI loss.
— Arizona: GB win; CHI Week 16.
Total: Green Bay is 8-4, with Tennessee in Week 16 and Minnesota in Week 17. Chicago is 7-5, with Arizona in Week 16 and Detroit in Week 17.
Here is a look at the NFC playoff chase.
1. Atlanta — 11-2 (No. 1 NFC South).
2. San Francisco — 9-3-1 (No. 1 NFC West).
3. Green Bay — 9-4 (No. 1 NFC North)
4. N.Y. Giants — 8-5 (No. 1 NFC East)
5. Seattle — 6-5 (No. 2 NFC West)
6. Chicago — 8-5 (No. 2 NFC North)
7. Washington — 7-6 (No. 2 NFC East)
8. Dallas — 7-6 (No. 3 NFC East)
9. Minnesota — 7-6 (No. 3 NFC North)
10. St. Louis — 6-6-1 (No. 3 NFC West)
Could the Packers get homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs? The Falcons host the Giants on Sunday, play at Detroit and finish at home against Tampa Bay.
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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.