I am pleased to present you with the first installment of this weekly feature, which will take a look at the Packers (fading) playoff hopes, and who you should root for to make the postseason more likely.
This week, the Packers come into a crucial game with the Cowboys at home on a 2-game loosing streak (and with a 4-4 overall record), with painful losses to the Vikings and Buccaneers. Their wins have been against the woeful Bears, Browns, Lions and Rams. It doesn't look good.
As far as their playoff hopes, here's the NFC Wild Card standings as of now (top 2 finishers get into playoffs):
1. Philadelphia Eagles (5-3)
2. Atlanta Falcons (5-3)
3. NY Giants (5-4)
4. Green Bay Packers (4-4)
Really, not too bad. They are one game off the lead, with a few bad/OK teams lurking behind them. I'm just assuming the division is out of hand, given the Vikings are 7-1 and we have no games left with them.
Now, here's what Packers fans want to have happen this weekend.
1. The Cardinals are playing the Seahawks (3 pm. Central). Root for the Cards. An Arizona win would put them into a secure division lead, (they'd be 6-3, the Seahawks would be 3-6), whereas a loss would muddle the NFC West picture (the Cards would be 5-4, the Seahawks would be 4-5). It would be nice to have a clear winner out west, and have the Seahawks, a bad team who are lurking, done away with.
2. The San Diego Chargers are playing the Philadelphia Eagles (3 pm. Central). Root for the Chargers. In fact, this one is pretty easy. Any time an AFC team is playing an NFC team, always root for the AFC team (a win in the AFC does not effect the Packers at all). This would make Philly 5-4, bringing them down to the same hypothetical record as the Packers after a win over Dallas this weekend, which brings me to my next point...
3. Root for Green Bay. Duh.
4. Carolina is playing Atlanta (12 pm. Central). Root for the Panthers. A Carolina win would also bring the 5-3 Falcons down a notch to the Packers level, and although it would boost the Panthers to a 4-5 lurking status, having the current leader brought down a peg is always a good thing.
The 5-4 NY Giants have a bye this week.
So, if all these these things happen they way they should this weekend: here's your NFC wild card race:
1. Falcons (5-4)
1. Eagles (5-4)
1. Packers (5-4)
1. Giants (5-4)
(49'ers, Bears, Panthers lurking @ 4-5)
That looks pretty darn good. A four-way tie, and two relatively easy games for the Pack in the next two weeks (49'ers, Lions).
Of course, it's completely irrational to suspect things will work out this perfectly, as the Falcons, Eagles and Cowboys are all favored to win.
Here's to hoping.