Green Bay Packers: Will They Make the NFL Playoffs?

Big ChilContributor IIDecember 14, 2010

DETROIT - DECEMBER 12:  Green Bay Packers fan reacts after the Detroit Lions defeated the Green Bay Packers 7-3 at Ford Field on December 12, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Right now, the Green Bay Packers (8-5) sit behind the Chicago Bears (9-4) in the NFC North divisional standings. 

Their disastrous 7-3 loss to the Detroit Lions (3-10) cost them almost any hope of winning the division.  If the Chicago Bears win their next two games, versus Minnesota on the road, and versus the New York Jets at home, the Bears win the division, regardless of Green Bay's outcomes. 

It gets worse.  If the Bears beat Minnesota next week, and the Packers lose ANY of their remaining games to New England, the New York Giants or the Bears, the Bears also win the division.

It gets worse.  Aaron Rodgers was removed from the Detroit game with his second concussion of the season.  He may not be able to go against New England, the best team in the league. 

The Bears could wrap up the division as early as next Monday night with a Packers loss to New England, and a win over Minnesota, which game could possibly be played at a neutral site due to the Metrodome roof collapsing this past weekend, not to mention Minnesota as a team. 

What, then, are the Packers' chance of getting a wild card seeding?

The current NFC standings are:

1.  Atlanta Falcons (11-2)

2.  Chicago Bears (9-4)

3.  Philadelphia Eagles (9-4)

4.  St. Louis Rams (6-7)

5.  New Orleans Saints (10-3) *WILD CARD

6.  New York Giants (9-4) *WILD CARD

7.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5)

8.  Green Bay Packers (8-5)

9.  Seattle Seahawks (6-7)


The Packers need to pass the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and either the New York Giants or New Orleans Saints to get into a wild card slot. 


The Good

The Packers are one game behind the Giants, and play them at home in Week 16. If the Packers win and end up tied with the Giants at season end, they'll own the head-to-head tiebreaker.

This week (Week 15), Tampa Bay plays Detroit, the Giants play Philadelphia, and New Orleans plays Baltimore.


The Bad

The Packers play the best and hottest team in football, the New England Patriots in Foxboro this Sunday.  Unless the Packers win, they will remain behind all of the teams ahead of them. 


The Ugly

The Packers may be without Aaron Rodgers, who was withdrawn from the Detroit game with his second concussion of the season.  Ouch. 

Let's assume a Packers loss next week at New England.  Can the Packers earn a wild card by going 2-0 in their last two games? 

Tampa Bay (No. 7, 8-5) plays Detroit, Seattle, @ New Orleans. 

New York Giants (No. 6, 9-4) play Philly, @ Green Bay, @ Washington.

New Orleans (No. 5 10-3) plays @Baltimore, @ Atlanta, Tampa Bay.  Very tough finish. 

If the Packers finish the season, 2-1, with a win versus New York, and a final record of 10-6, will they make the wild card? 

The Packers can't pass New Orleans at 10-6, so that leaves Tampa Bay and the New York Giants to pass.  A Packers win at home versus the Giants, and a Giants' loss to either Philly or Washington, always tough divisional games, will move the Packers ahead of the Giants in the wild card pecking order.  

That only leaves Tampa Bay to pass.  Tampa has winnable games against Detroit and Seattle, but Detroit has shown they're no pushovers, obviously.  Seattle is in the hunt for the NFC West.  New Orleans is in the hunt, though an underdog, to catch the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South. 

The biggest game for the Packers is the Giants game.  If they win that game, and the Giants split their other two games, and the Bucs go 1-2 at the tail end of the schedule, the Packers will win a wild card berth. 

It's not out of the question, all these teams have tough schedules, but for the Packers, it boils down to beating the Giants for sure, and either beating New England or the Bears, while Tampa and the Giants drop two of their remaining three games each. 

IF the Packers can win out and go 11-5, they will pass the Giants, and Tampa if the Bucs lose one of their remaining games.