A loss would put Green Bay four games behind with eight to play, while the sweep would give Minnesota the tiebreaker. Add the matchup of Randy Moss vs. the anemic Packer D, put the whole thing in the unfriendliest of settings, and this story could have a very unhappy ending .
The Packers must prove Sunday that they can field an effective defense and use it to win a big game. If not, the half-way point of this season may as well be the finish line.
With a loss, the Packers would be four games back in the W-L column, but essentially five games behind because of the tie-breaking sweep.
The wild-card picture isn't looking rosy, either. St. Louis and Seattle are both 5-2, and will probably duke it out for the NFC West title. The runner-up already has a two-game lead on the Pack for the wildcard (Green Bay loses the tiebreaker to St. Louis, but wins a tie with Seattle). A slew of teams are a game ahead of the Packers with much easier matchups this weekend than Green Bay's dome date.
The second-half schedule does offer some hope for a Packers' rebound, especially if they can upset the Vikings Sunday night. Bright spots include home dates with Philadelphia, Chicago and struggling San Francisco, plus a road date with San Diego. But a trip to Tampa could be trouble, and even a game against woeful Lions is cause for concern because it comes on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit.
The NFC North race could be a moot point already as the Vikings could conceivably win out. They have a laughable lineup of road games, including San Diego, Oakland and Chicago, and host Detroit and the Arizona Cardinals. Only a road game in St. Louis and a Week 16 matchup with mighty Kansas City in the Metrodome look like challenges for Minnesota right now.
With a slate of winnable games down the stretch, is the worry focused on the Packers' Sunday Night ESPN showdown with the Vikings overblown? Probably not. The Packers have never made the playoffs after a 3-5 start.