Of course, it’s purely hypothetical at this point. There are still five weeks of football left to be played and anything can happen. Teams that are three games back of a wild-card spot can still squeak in and teams that everyone is calling a lock right now can fall like a rock.
Such is the fickle nature of the National Football League.
The Packers are in the latter category, and no further proof is needed after the beating they took at the hands of the Giants. They are still in control of their destiny and they still have a decent chance of winning the NFC North.
The Chicago Bears currently have a one-game lead, but the Packers already have one win over them. The Minnesota Vikings sit right behind the Packers and are inconsistent as of late. At 4-7, the Detroit Lions are about done.
If the season were to end today, the Packers would be the fifth seed in the NFC and would have to travel to the fourth seed. Any guesses as to who that is?
The New York Giants.
The script from last season is reversed. The Packers would be the underdog and would have no shortage in motivation. While suffering such a beatdown is discouraging to any fan, Packer fans can take solace in one thing: Aaron Rodgers will be angry. Everyone knows what happens when Rodgers plays angry.
The opposition goes up in flames.
With five games left, the cart is definitely being put before the horse here. The Packers very well could overtake the Bears and hold off the Vikings to win the NFC North. If that were the case, they could move up as far as the No. 3 seed depending on if the Giants hang on in the NFC East.
Where will the Packers begin the 2012 NFL Playoffs?
The Packers need to pretty much say farewell to any hope of home-field advantage or a first-round bye. The Atlanta Falcons are in first at 10-1 and the San Francisco 49ers, who beat the Packers to open the season, are in second at 8-2-1. That tie the 49ers had against the Rams could help the Packers down the road, but it seems highly unlikely a team like the 49ers will suffer any kind of major collapse.
So Green Bay likely will have to take the scenic route to New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII. It did so just two years ago on its way to Super Bowl XLV, and with a banged-up roster too.
That said, the Packers of this season are missing many more key players than they were in 2010. The absences of Clay Matthews and Desmond Bishop have had large repercussions on the defense and the loss of Bryan Bulaga has thrown the Packers’ vaunted passing game into a bit of disarray.
The Packers are very much still in the mix for the NFC playoffs. If you look at the teams currently within reasonable distance of them in the NFC, the Packers are head and shoulders above them as far as talent on the roster—injuries aside.
It might be another long slog to the Super Bowl, but if the Packers can whip their pass protection into shape and tighten up a bit on defense, it is not unreasonable to think a push for another Lombardi Trophy is at least somewhat possible.
The Super Bowl runs of both the Packers of two years ago and the Giants last year prove that teams need to be playing their best ball in December.
That’s next week. Are the Packers up to it?