The Week 17 Packers-Bears matchup is no longer a playoff game for the Chicago Bears.
If Green Bay beats Chicago in Week 17, they're in. If not, a Giants win over Washington puts the Giants in, and losses by both Green Bay and New York, combined with a Tampa Bay victory over New Orleans sees the Buccaneers through. Losses by all three teams sees Green Bay through as well.
Happy Holidays & NFL playoffs, everyone!
In light of the two teams' huge victories on Sunday over New York teams, the Packers' 45-17 drubbing of the Giants, and the Bears' 38-34 thriller over the Jets, the Bears-Packers Week 17 showdown at Lambeau Field has now officially become a playoff game for both teams.
Here are the National Football Conference standings:
1. Atlanta Falcons (12-2) *(Monday Night Football vs. New Orleans)
2. Chicago Bears (11-4) NFC North Champions
3. Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) NFC East Champions *(Tuesday Night game vs. Minnesota)
4. St. Louis Rams (7-8) NFC West Frontrunner
5. New Orleans Saints (10-4) *(Monday Night Football @ Atlanta)
6. Green Bay Packers (9-6)
7. New York Giants (9-6)
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-6)
The Bears have locked up the NFC North crown, true, and are guaranteed no worse than the No. 3 seed, however, the Bears-Packers game has huge playoff ramifications for both teams:
IF GREEN BAY WINS
1. The Packers guarantee themselves the sixth and final playoff spot.
2. The Bears finish at (11-5). If the Philadelphia Eagles end up (12-4) the Bears drop to the third seed, and will immediately face the Packers at home the following week in the Wild Card round.
IF CHICAGO WINS
1. The Bears (12-4) earn the number two seed and a first-round bye.
2. The Packers (9-7) are eliminated from the playoffs if either the New York Giants or Tampa Bay Buccaneers win their last game, finishing 10-6.
The Bears-Packers Week 17 showdown boils down to this:
For the Packers, it's win or go home.
For the Bears, the road to the NFC title is either three games long, or two games long and it all depends on the outcome of Week 17. This is truly a playoff game. If the Bears win, they play just one NFC playoff game at home in Soldier Field, and then they're in the title game.