Game Day: Packers' playoff hopes hurting

Weekend games clear up picture – and it's not pretty

The Packers were looking for a holiday handout and had the door slammed in their face. No team that could help Green Bay's cause responded with a loss this weekend, which makes tonight's MNF showdown with the Raiders loom large and the Pack's division title hopes seem small.

Minnesota demolished the Kansas City Chiefs 45-20, and frankly it wasn't that close. Kansas City bore no resemblance to the team which broke the Packers' heart back in October. Dallas clinched a playoff berth with a 19-3 win over the equally hapless-looking Giants. Seattle, another playoff hopeful, beat Arizona to stay alive.Even Tampa Bay surrendered to Atlanta, putting a dent in the Packers now-moot "Strength of Victory" tiebreaker.

The Vikings' victory was a crushing blow. It gives Minnesota the edge in the third tiebreaker, which is record against common opponents. Now the only way the Packers can win the North is if they win tonight in Oakland and next Sunday vs. Denver at Lambeau Field, and the Vikings lose in Arizona next weekend.

Dallas secured a playoff spot with it's win, leaving one spot remaining. They'll duke it out for one more week with Philly to decide which one wins the NFC East and which one goes in as a wildcard. St. Louis has locked up the NFC West and is looking for home field advantage. Carolina won the South by a comfortable three games. Tampa's loss which eliminated the Super Bowl championships from contention.

That leaves Green Bay and Seattle in a final round of musical chairs for a single wildcard slot. Seattle, 9-6. The Packers can't look for any handouts there, either – the Seahawks finish up against San Francisco (7-8).

One bright spot – the Packers do control their own destiny for that final prize because of their Week 5 win over Seattle. If they win out, Green Bay can look for a date with Carolina as a likely matchup in the new year.

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